NEWS

Helicopter fugitives' court cases on drug charges going ahead

06/09/2014 07:32 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 01:07 EDT
The lawyer for one of three men who escaped from a Quebec City detention centre in a helicopter over the weekend says the Quebec Superior Court is going ahead with the drug-trafficking case against his client despite his disappearance.

Rodrigue Beauchesne confirmed to CBC News that he will be in court today to represent his fugitive client, Yves Denis.

Denis, 35, escaped Saturday evening along with Denis Lefebvre, 53, and 49-year-old Serge Pomerleau​ in a helicopter from the Orsainville Detention Centre in suburban Quebec City.

The three men are facing multiple court proceedings on charges including drug trafficking, premeditated murder and gangsterism.

Beauchesne couldn't say what new charges his client could face as a result of his escape.

Security recently loosened

The murder charges, which are scheduled to be prosecuted in January 2015, are connected to the deaths of two men, Johnny Coutu and Benoît Denis.

Coutu was killed in Laval in July 2009 and Denis was killed in Joliette in May 2010.

If convicted on the murder charges, the three men could face life in prison.

Denis, Lefebvre and Pomerleau were arrested in 2010 after a drug operation bust in Abitibi known as Project Crayfish that led to dozens of arrests. They were reported to have had ties to the Hells Angels.

Quebec’s provincial police force says the men are dangerous and have added their names to the province’s 10 most wanted criminals list.

Beauchesne confirmed to CBC News that some of the strict security conditions his client had been subject to had recently been reduced at the lawyer's request.

Earlier measures in place against Denis, Lefebvre and Pomerleau required that they be placed in handcuffs whenever they left their cells. Beauchesne said that requirement had been lifted.

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