POLITICS

Quebec orders review of evidence in case of speeding cop cruiser

11/24/2014 05:15 EST | Updated 01/24/2015 05:59 EST
MONTREAL - Quebec's justice minister has ordered an independent review of the evidence in the case of a five-year-old boy who was killed when a speeding police cruiser struck his father's car.

Stephanie Vallee made the announcement on Monday, shortly after the Crown prosecutors' office said it would reopen the file.

The Crown's decision came after Montreal La Presse published an interview with a woman who witnessed the accident last February.

In interviews with the newspaper and other media, Madeleine Noiseux says she was shocked to see the boy's father being blamed because, according to her, it was clearly the provincial police officer who was at fault.

His cruiser was travelling at twice the speed limit of 50 km-h when the accident occurred in Montreal-area Longueuil. The Crown confirmed last Friday no charges would be laid against the officer and said the boy's father made a risky manoeuvre.

The Crown maintained he decided to turn left on a green light without waiting for the flashing green light which would have given him priority.

The decision to not lay charges against the officer was controversial and angered many.

In Quebec City, Vallee said the group of people who will review the evidence will include a former judge.

"It's important to maintain the public's faith in this important institution (the Crown) and that's why we've come to the conclusion it would be appropriate to submit the file to independent prosecutors," she said.

The group will decide whether to recommend charges against the officer and will make any recommendations public.

"As a minister and a mother, I am very sensitive to the plight of victims," she said.

The officer's vehicle was the middle of three unmarked cruisers that were tailing another car in a surveillance operation.

La Presse, quoting police documents, said the cruisers were targeting Robert Parent, who was director of the Quebec Liberal party between 2003 and 2008, as part of an anti-corruption probe involving businessmen, elected officials and civil servants.

Parent told the newspaper last week he met three times with members of Quebec's anti-corruption unit.

"They wanted to know how the party works and what its administrative procedures are,'' he was quoted as saying. "It was very technical.''