POLITICS

Ex-Montreal cop charged of selling secrets to bikers will seek bail in January

12/11/2013 10:59 EST | Updated 02/10/2014 05:59 EST
MONTREAL - A retired Montreal police detective accused of trading sensitive information with biker gang members in exchange for money will argue for his freedom in the new year.

A lack of judges to hear Benoit Roberge's case during the holiday season means proceedings wlll take place Jan. 8-9.

"Prior to my coming into the file, several attorneys were there, some had to get out because of conflict of interest or other situations," Richard Perras, Roberge's fifth lawyer since his October arrest, said Wednesday.

"When I got in, I got disclosure and we moved as fast as possible."

Prosecutors have said they will oppose bail.

Roberge's status as a police officer who testified regularly before the courts has complicated matters, requiring a Crown prosecutor from Quebec City to oversee the file.

Also, Roberge's wife is a Montreal-based Crown prosecutor who specialized in fighting organized crime.

Roberge is facing one charge of obstructing justice, one of breach of trust and two related to gangsterism.

The former biker-gang expert has been detained since being arrested by provincial police just south of Montreal.

The veteran police officer, who spent the latter part of his career assigned to a specialized anti-biker gang unit, retired this past August.

Roberge was not present Wednesday. During his last court appearance, he complained he hadn't been able to see much of the evidence against him, an allegation dismissed by the Crown.

Perras said getting evidence was complicated — the information includes "sensitive materials," some of which was blacked out by police. He said it's normal, given the type of information in the file.

"Certain passages don't make sense because a great part of it is redacted," Perras said. "We're working on getting full disclosure. Eventually we will."

A number of details have been reported in the media. On Monday, Radio-Canada said it had obtained excerpts of recorded conversations between Roberge and the late biker he's been linked to — Rene Charlebois.

The report indicated that Charlebois was ultimately interested in sabotaging ongoing criminal cases against the Hells Angels and sought information about an informant key to a number of criminal trials.

Charlebois committed suicide earlier this year after being on the lam from a minimum-security prison and being the subject of a two-week manhunt.

"A lot of things have appeared in the media that seemed to be more comprehensive than what I received as disclosure," Perras said, without verifying the information. "How the media got it remains a mystery."

Reports say Roberge received as much as $500,000 in exchange for information.

Roberge has requested a trial by judge and jury but Perras acknowledged it is still several months away.