Radio-Canada reporter arrested for harassment after requesting interview




Updated: March 16, 2018

A Radio-Canada reporter has been arrested for alleged criminal harassment while pursuing the subject of a story.

According to Radio-Canada, reporter Antoine Trépanier was arrested Tuesday night by Gatineau police. He was released on a promise to appear in court.

Trépanier was called by Gatineau police Tuesday evening and an officer requested that he come to the station, said Radio-Canada’s director of French services for Ottawa-Gatineau Yvan Cloutier.

Trépanier went with two of his managers and was present for approximately five to 10 minutes wherein police informed him that a complaint of criminal harassment had been made against him and asked that he sign a promise to appear in court.

Trépanier was reporting on Outaouais Big Brothers and Big Sisters executive director Yvonne Dubé, who was once admonished by an Ontario court for practising law when she wasn’t a lawyer. The charitable organization that now employs her was kept in the dark about her past, Trépanier reported.


Police also informed Trépanier of a list of conditions he is to abide by, including not contacting Dubé.

The French-language broadcaster has defended Trépanier’s actions in pursuit of the story.

“As part of our journalistic investigation, we offered Ms. Yvonne Dubé to give us a formal interview, in person, which she accepted, then declined at the last moment,” Martin Gauthier, chief information officer for Radio-Canada Ottawa-Gatineau, said in a statement posted to Radio-Canada’s website.

“The next day, the reporter sent an email to Ms. Dubé to reiterate the interview offer. Subsequently, Ms. Dubé complained to (Gatineau police) against journalist Antoine Trépanier for criminal harassment.”

Despite the arrest, Gauthier said, prosecutors had not yet determined as of Thursday night whether they will charge Trépanier.

“The management of Radio-Canada supports its journalist and his work both ethically and legally.”

Cloutier said that there are “no grounds for this.”

“Antoine was doing his job and he did it properly,” he said. “We just don’t understand what happened.”

In April 2015, Ontario Superior Court Justice Charles T. Hackland ordered Dubé to “permanently cease practising the law without authorization” and “no longer provide unauthorized legal services,” according to Radio-Canada.

Dubé admitted that’s what happened but denied to Radio-Canada that she ever represented clients in court as a lawyer, saying instead that she was working as an articling student for Christian Deslauriers, an Ottawa lawyer who was himself recently suspended by the Law Society of Upper Canada for allowing her to run his legal aid practice from June 2010 and September 2011.

A ruling from the law society said Deslauriers “failed to prevent the unauthorized practice of law.”

Dubé told the reporter on the telephone that she had no idea what he was talking about when he pressed her on court appearances she made, Trépanier reported.

It was after this telephone interview that Dubé cancelled what Radio-Canada called her “formal interview.”

Gatineau police, in a statement Thursday night, said they received a complaint from a woman fearing for her safety as a result of threats and repeated communications from a man.

Police judged the statement to be “credible,” and notified the man of his arrest. Gatineau police also reiterated that a charge against the man has not yet been authorized by prosecutors.

“Police officers work impartially and neutrally with the elements they have, regardless of the political ideals, jobs and status of individuals,” said the statement.

The force said it “considers the freedom of the press and the public’s right to quality, accurate, rigorous and comprehensive information as paramount.

“Under no circumstances and under any circumstances has the SPVG intended to interfere with a journalist in the exercise of his duties and to restrict his freedom of the press.

“Similarly, the SPVG strongly believes in respecting the rights of victims who wish to lodge a complaint so that their case is treated impartially.”

The force also said that anyone who feels wronged in the way they were treated can file a complaint to their oversight bodies.

Trépanier is scheduled to appear in court on June 18.