By IRWIN BLOCK, The Gazette
Two divorced fathers whose publicity stunt four years ago shut down the
Jacques Cartier Bridge for 21/2 hours were found guilty yesterday of mischief
and other charges.
Quebec Court Judge Gilles Cadieux rejected the argument of necessity Benoît
Leroux and Gilles Dumas invoked to justify breaking the law with their stunt on
Dressed in a Robin outfit and carrying a placard calling for parental
equality, Leroux scaled the bridge's ironworks on May 23, 2005, with Dumas
coordinating from the ground.
Because of the danger, the Sûreté du Québec closed the span to traffic in
Cadieux ruled the two men, activists in Fathers 4 Justice - an international
organization that fights for fathers' rights in child-custody cases - did not
require illegal methods to make known their claims to the public or media.
Both men contend family law courts are stacked against fathers in custody
Leroux said outside the court he's been barred from visiting his 8-year-old
daughter in the U.S. for the past six years because his estranged wife won a
civil protection order after he failed to make child support payments.
Leroux and Dumas were convicted of mischief and conspiracy. Dumas was also
convicted of interfering with police in the exercise of their duties.
Leroux asked the court for an unconditional discharge so he does not get a
criminal record that could prevent him from visiting the U.S. to see his
daughter or affect his standing with the Order of Engineers.
Cadieux asked him to consult a lawyer or do his own research to determine the
consequences of having a criminal record.
Dumas objected to introducing his previous convictions into the court record.
He he is to make legal arguments on that issue and his sentence on May 5.
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