06/12/2014 07:13 EDT | Updated 08/12/2014 05:59 EDT

Quebec Jail Escapees Were Not Required To Wear Handcuffs During Hearings


The three fugitives who escaped via helicopter from a jail near Quebec City over the weekend recently had their security conditions relaxed — including not having to wear handcuffs during court proceedings, and being able to go outside in the jail's courtyard, in the presence of guards, on days they were scheduled to appear in court.

The information comes to light after a publication ban on some court documents was partially lifted Thursday afternoon after a request was filed by CBC News and other media.

The security conditions of Yves Denis, 35, Denis Lefebvre, 53, and Serge Pomerleau, 49, were relaxed on March 24, after a judge partially granted their request.

The application for lax conditions was presented by inmate Thierry Béland and the three fugitives.

Since April, Lefebvre, Pomerleau and Denis have been at court proceedings at the Quebec City courthouse for drug trafficking charges.

No handcuffs, hot lunches

The documents that were made partially public today state that under the new lax security conditions, the inmates did not need to be handcuffed during hearings at the courthouse and were required to be restrained at the ankles only.

Lefebvre, Denis and Pomerleau were also allowed to have a pencil and notepad in court and to get a hot lunch.

Also, on days when they were to appear in court, the men were allowed to go outside to use the jail’s courtyard if guards were present.

However, the fugitives escaped on a Saturday night, when there was no court proceeding. It remains unclear who authorized the three men to go outside that day.

Access to a computer

Quebec Superior Court Justice Louis Dionne also partially lifted a publication ban on another judgment rendered in March concerning the possibility of Pomerleau having a laptop in his cell.

The judgment ordered the jail’s management to allow Pomerleau to have access to a computer "to study the evidence" to allow the inmate to prepare his defence. However, the judge had required that the inmate pay for the computer and update it so that it had no link with the outside world.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story had an image that incorrectly identified the prisoners involved. The image has been updated to correctly identify them.

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