03/16/2018 10:18 EDT | Updated 03/16/2018 12:19 EDT

Radio-Canada Reporter Arrested For Alleged Harassment After interview Requests

The subject of the story claimed she feared for her safety after repeated communications from a man.

The Canadian Press

GATINEAU, Que. — Radio-Canada says it is standing behind a reporter who was arrested this week after the subject of a story he was working on lodged a complaint with police.

The CBC's French-language network said the complaint against Antoine Trepanier stems from calls and emails he sent seeking reaction to a story about the head of the chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters in western Quebec.

The alleged victim wrote a formal statement indicating fear for her safety as a result of threats received and repeated communications from a man.

Gatineau police wouldn't discuss the particulars of Tuesday's complaint.

"The alleged victim wrote a formal statement indicating fear for her safety as a result of threats received and repeated communications from a man,'' Gatineau police said in a release.

"Judging the statement credible and following analysis of the evidence, a police officer telephoned the individual to inform him he was the subject of a criminal harassment complaint.''

The network said the complainant was Yvonne Dube, who is executive director of the organization's Gatineau chapter and the subject of the interview requests.

The broadcaster's investigation involved an Ontario court decision that said Dube falsely passed herself off as a lawyer between September 2011 and March 2012.

Charges haven't been filed

Radio-Canada said the reporter first contacted Dube on Monday and spoke to her for 20 minutes. The network said she initially agreed to an on-camera interview before backing out. The reporter then emailed her again Tuesday to give her another chance for an interview.

The complaint was filed later that day and the reporter was called to the police station in the Hull district.

Accompanied by two managers, Trepanier was arrested and released on a promise to appear in court June 20.

Gatineau police said it would be up to the Crown to decide whether charges would be filed.

Trepanier is not permitted to contact Dube and must notify police of any change in address or employment.

Journalist has been silenced: Quebec federation

The broadcaster said it stands by its reporter.

"We find that his arrest was unfounded, that he was only doing his job and that he fully respected the CBC's journalistic standards and practices,'' Yvan Cloutier, Radio-Canada's director of French services in Gatineau, said in a statement on the network's website.

Trepanier will continue to work as a reporter in its Gatineau newsroom.

Stephane Giroux, head of the Quebec journalists' federation called the arrest ``extremely worrying'' based and noted it was based solely on a single complaint without investigation.

By imposing a condition of no contact, the journalist doing his job has in effect been silenced, Giroux said.

Gatineau police are expected to address the matter later Friday.

In its statement, the police force said it considers freedom of the press to be paramount and insisted it did not intend to restrict a journalist from exercising his functions.

But the force added it believes in respecting the rights of victims who wish to file a complaint so their case is treated impartially.

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