Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Prominent Quebec Student Protester Convicted of Contempt of Court

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Prominent Quebec Student Protester Convicted of Contempt of Court

Article excerpt

Quebec student leader convicted of contempt


QUEBEC - One of the most prominent figures in the Quebec student revolt that gained international attention and contributed to the defeat of Jean Charest's government has been convicted of contempt of court.

Justice Jacques Denis wrote in his ruling handed down Thursday that Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, the charismatic spokesman for the hardline CLASSE group, had advocated anarchy.

The case stems from allegations that Nadeau-Dubois encouraged students to ignore a court injunction obtained by student Jean-Francois Morasse that allowed him to return to class at Laval University in Quebec City.

Nadeau-Dubois said on television on May 13 that it was legitimate for protesters to form picket lines to keep students who had obtained injunctions from getting to their classrooms.

Giuseppe Sciortino, the lawyer for the student leader, pleaded ignorance on behalf of Nadeau-Dubois, saying there was no evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that he had read the injunction.

However, Quebec Superior Court rejected the argument, saying it was clear Nadeau-Dubois was aware of the injunction and used his platform to encourage non-compliance with a court order.

"He encouraged his supporters to block the access of students to their classes, even by picketing, despite the injunction, all to uphold a vote taken by students in favour of the boycott," the judge said of Nadeau-Dubois' comments in the TV interview.

"Saying he's acting out of respect for democracy, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois encouraged non-compliance with orders issued by the court, including those in favour of plaintiff Morasse. In doing so, he promotes and encourages anarchy rather than civil disobedience."

Nadeau-Dubois, who quit his role as student spokesman last summer, did not testify at the trial.

Nadeau-Dubois faces a maximum of a year in jail when he is sentenced. He could also be sentenced to community work. He did not immediately comment on his conviction but was expected to hold a news conference Friday.

Sentencing arguments begin on Nov. 9.

Amir Khadir, co-leader of the Quebec solidaire provincial party which supported the student boycotts, called on people to bang pots and pans Thursday night in support of Nadeau-Dubois. …

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