Cédrika Provencher's family made a rare public appearance Wednesday to attend the preliminary hearings of the civil lawsuit filed by Jonathan Bettez against the state and the Sûreté du Québec. Discussions between the parties continued throughout the day.
Posted at 3:19 p.m.
Martin and Henri Provencher, Cédrika Provencher's father and grandfather, surprised journalists when they arrived at the Montreal courthouse in the middle of the morning. The two men were therefore briefly in the same room as Jonathan Bettez, who remains the police's main suspect in the murder. The Provenchers did not want to grant an interview.
The disappearance of the 9-year-old girl in July 2007 in Trois-Rivières shocked Quebec at the time. Cédrika's bones were finally found in 2015 in a wooded area about ten kilometers from where she disappeared. No one has been charged in this case.
But in the eyes of the police, Jonathan Bettez remains the main suspect in the murder. However, a “Mister Big”-type infiltration operation of unprecedented scale failed to obtain a confession from Bettez. A judge also reprimanded police for their investigative techniques in a child pornography case, for which Bettez was completely acquitted.
Because of this “relentlessness,” Jonathan Bettez and members of his family are suing the government and the Sûreté du Québec for $10 million.
PHOTO PATRICK SANFAÇON, THE PRESS
Jonathan Bettez at the Montreal courthouse on Monday.
This is not the trial that is taking place this week. Judge Gregory Moore is hearing preliminary motions for document discovery. The debates are often cryptic because the contents of some of these documents are unknown. But on Tuesday, Mr. Bettez's lawyer announced, according to a report, that DNA had been discovered from “evidence” found at the site of the bones.
Lawyers for the Quebec Attorney General (PGQ) wanted most of these debates to take place behind closed doors and without journalists. However, after the intervention of a media lawyer, Judge Moore allowed the journalists to attend the closed-door testimony. That decision appeared to unnerve government lawyers, who even suggested the idea of making journalists sign “nondisclosure agreements.” A path that, according to Judge Moore, would open a “Pandora’s box.”
This decision appeared to bring the two camps closer together, as they have been negotiating since Tuesday afternoon to significantly shorten the preliminary talks. The court proceedings lasted only a few minutes on Wednesday. A brief debate is expected to take place Thursday morning on the issue of wiretapping evidence in the child pornography criminal case.