Crown prosecutor Josée Lemieux said she
will challenge the request for an unconditional discharge, but
refused to say what sentence should be imposed.
"We will take into account the two weeks
of provisional detention she spent in a United States jail," Ms.
Lemieux said Thursday. Her comments were an indication that the
Crown may request that Ms. Bédard, who faces a maximum sentence
of 10 years in jail, be handed a much lighter sentence.
The three-time Olympic medal-winning
biathlete was arrested near Washington, D.C., on Dec. 22, 2006,
after spending 11 weeks in the United States with her daughter
and common-law spouse Nima Mazhari on a campaign to denounce the
"injustices" against them and "bureaucratic terrorism" in
The Bédard-Mazhari couple's odd campaign
in the United States became a child-abduction case when Mr.
Paquet filed a complaint with the police in late November that
he did not know when his daughter would return home.
An arrest warrant was issued a few weeks
later that branded Ms. Bédard an international fugitive, which
led to her arrest, imprisonment and finally her extradition to
Canada in early January of 2007.
Mr. Pepper tried to get the case thrown
out of court, saying there was insufficient evidence to show
that Ms. Bédard had the criminal intention of depriving the
child's father of his custody rights. His motion was denied by
During the trial, Mr. Pepper said that
Mr. Paquet rarely exercised his custody rights and that Ms.
Bédard had every intention of returning to her home near
Montreal. But the jurors rejected the defence argument that the
case was one of lack of communication over the well-being of the
divorced couple's daughter rather than one of kidnapping with
criminal intent of violating a court order.
Judge Beaulieu grew increasingly
impatient with many of the defence lawyer's arguments, including
a request Thursday challenging the objectivity of one the
jurors. Mr. Pepper said he learned this week that one of the
jurors had failed to reveal during jury selection that he was
once a policeman in Ms. Bédard's hometown of Val-Bélair, near
Quebec City. But Mr. Pepper was unable to prove his allegation
before Judge Beaulieu.
"Had I known he was a former police
officer from Val-Bélair, I could have objected to having him on
the jury," Mr. Pepper said Thursday.
It remains unclear whether Mr. Pepper's
complaint about the juror's potential impartiality could be
eventually included in an appeal, which could come if the
request for unconditional discharge is denied.
For the time being, Ms. Bédard remains
free and must abide by the conditions of her release issued last
January after she posted $2,000 bail and handed over her
passport. She is required to report once a week to police near
her home in Longueuil and has been ordered not to leave the
In February, Ms. Bédard regained custody
of her child in a ruling that reiterated Mr. Paquet's custodial