François Amalega acquitted of two charges

Anti-vaccine protester François Amalega Bitondo, imprisoned since mid-January in connection with his numerous attempts to approach the Prime Minister to let him know his point of view on the management of the pandemic, was acquitted on Thursday of two counts of charge of obstructing police work and failing to comply with an order to keep the peace for an event that occurred in Shawinigan in November 2021.

Posted yesterday at 8:29 p.m.

Tristan Peloquin

Tristan Peloquin
The Press

The accused, a former mathematics professor at Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf who is now representing himself after having thanked his lawyer, will probably not regain his freedom immediately, since he is still awaiting a judgment in a similar case for two stormy demonstrations he led in a Canadian Tire store in Joliette, in July 2021. The judgment in this case will be rendered next May.

In the Shawinigan case, for which Judge Simon Ricard exceptionally rendered his decision around 7 p.m. this Thursday, Mr. Amalega Bitondo was accused by the Crown of having tried to approach Prime Minister François Legault when he arrived. to make a speech at the Center Desjardins, when a police officer had asked him to stand back for security reasons. However, although Mr. Amalega Bitondo “did not have an absolute right” to approach the Prime Minister, “the directives of the police officer could have been clearer” ruled Judge Ricard.

” Never [M. Amalega Bitondo] crossed the imaginary line” which had been established by the police. The magistrate came to the conclusion that the accused had no intention of obstructing the work of the police officers when he tried to approach the Prime Minister once the latter passed in front of him and was already far from him.

The judge pointed out that nothing in Mr. Amalega Bitondo’s behavior led to the belief that he posed a high risk to the Prime Minister. “He is a man who expressed himself calmly, who has a very organized thought and a coherent speech. He is not a lost gentleman,” noted the judge, stressing however that this assessment does not amount to an endorsement of the political opinions of Mr. Amalega Bitondo.

It was following this arrest that Mr. Amalega Bitondo had stricter conditions of release imposed on him, which notably prohibited him from “entering within a radius of 300 meters from the Prime Minister”. A few weeks later, he was again arrested in front of the Radio-Canada studios, while the Prime Minister was on his way to an interview on the program Everybody talks about it. He was also acquitted, last March, of the charges of non-compliance with the conditions that followed, in the face of a “total absence of evidence” that Mr. Amalega Bitondo did indeed “penetrate” within a radius of 300 meters from the Prime Minister. . Judge Dennis Galiatsatos then said that his incarceration since January gave him “shivers down the spine”.

“We don’t keep people in prison simply because we find them tiring, disturbing. And above all, and it is sad to have to remember this, we do not detain citizens in prison simply because they may be against government decisions. [ou] that they dared to express their disagreement with laws or measures”, had then thundered the judge Dennis Galiatsatos.

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