Droit criminel

L’affaire Fredette


On September 14, 2017, an Amber  Alert (abducted child alert) kept Quebec in suspense for 24 hours, the longest in the province. It was on September 15 that Ugo Fredette, at the origin of this alert, was found in Ontario, with the young child, aged six, who was missing.

He is safe and sound.

The day before, the body of Véronique Barbe, mother of the child and spouse of Fredette, was found at the couple’s residence in St-Eustache. At the same time, the body of Yvon Lacasse, hitherto missing, was found in Arundel, in the Laurentians, five days after the suspect’s arrest.

A marital and passionate drama that reminds  Quebecers of the painful Turcotte affair .

A missionary of disappearances

Ugo Fredette was however known for his empathy and his sensitivity towards unsolved disappearance files. The 41-year-old man combined two occupations: he worked as an exterminator and also on sets of documentaries on the subject of kidnapping.

He has also participated in the production of several documentaries on the disappearance, in particular that of Cédrika Provencher .

Fitness to appear

Following his arrest, he attempted to take his own life in his cell at the police station in the town of Renfrew, Ontario. Transferred to Civic Hospital , he spent three days in a coma, following anesthesia.

When he woke up, he was transferred to the hospital in St-Eustache, then admitted to the detention center in St-Jérôme, pending his trial.

After undergoing several psychiatric examinations and evaluations, Mr. Fredette is deemed fit to appear in court.

What is unfit to stand trial?

The Criminal Code defines unfit to stand trial. It designates an accused who, for reasons of mental disorder, is unable to ensure his defense or to communicate with the defense lawyer , who must represent him in court.

For example:
The person does not understand, or is unable to:

  • to understand his presence in a courtroom, or the role of the people there (lawyers, judge, Crown prosecutor);
  • to understand the nature of the prosecution or the consequences of a guilty plea or lying under oath;
  • to communicate with his lawyer for his defense.

In Quebec, an accused is considered fit until proven otherwise.

« inaptitude à comparaître » et «  responsabilité criminelle »

Attention : ne pas confondre « inaptitude à comparaître » et «  responsabilité criminelle ». La première expression désigne l’aptitude à comprendre et à subir un procès, tandis que la seconde réfère aux intentions et à la compréhension au moment du crime.

Une personne peut donc être évaluée comme étant inapte à subir son procès, mais criminelle responsable pour ses actes. L’un n’empêche pas l’autre et vice versa.

In Mr. Fredette’s situation, it is appropriate to question his aptitude, following a suicide attempt. His criminal responsibility in his act is not called into question for all that.

Criminal intent is also the central point of judicial analyzes and investigations.

The charges

Being fit to stand trial, Mr. Fredette faces several charges. The trial will take place
at the Palais du Justice in St-Jérôme .

A first appearance took place on September 25. Mr. Fredette was then charged with the second degree murder of his spouse, Mrs. Véronique Barbe. At this time, no charge has been filed regarding the death of Mr. Yvon Lacasse, since the investigation is still ongoing.

On the other hand, Mr. Fredette must respect a list prohibiting contact, in particular with the relatives of Ms. Barbe and Mr. Lacasse, and potential witnesses.

On October 31, a second appearance took place in St-Jérôme. Investigations are continuing and Mr. Fredette is now charged with the premeditated murder of Mrs. Barbe. Due to a history of criminal harassment prior to the event, ruling out the hypothesis of second degree murder.

The man also faces a charge of the unpremeditated murder of Mr. Yvon Lacasse.

No charges are laid for the abduction of the child.

Remember that Mr. Fredette is being held until his trial; date to be determined. He was eventually found guilty of murder and is currently serving a prison sentence.

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