MONTREAL – The case of a retired Montreal police officer accused of trading sensitive information to Hells Angels biker gang members in exchange for cash payoffs will be delayed for a week.
Benoit Roberge will remain behind bars after a switch in lawyers prompted his bail hearing to be postponed on Thursday.
Roberge, 50, will now be represented by veteran attorney Gerald Souliere. The defence was also awaiting more evidence in the case.
The former investigator arrived in the courtroom with a police escort and was slightly hunched and looking downcast during his brief court appearance.
He is facing serious charges — one of obstructing justice, one of breach of trust and two related to gangsterism.
The gangsterism charges carry mandatory life sentences upon conviction.
It’s unclear when Roberge will have a bail hearing. His next court appearance, on Oct. 17, is only to set further dates and the accused will not be required to be present.
Roberge retired this past August and his arrest last weekend stunned Quebec’s legal and law-enforcement communities.
He was a longtime anti-biker gang investigator who often testified against gangs in court. His wife, Nancy Potvin, is a Crown prosecutor who worked in a specialized organized-crime office.
The prosecutor’s office says Potvin has been temporarily relieved of her duties with pay for personal reasons.
A spokeswoman for that office says Potvin knew nothing of the allegations against Roberge and is not implicated in his case.
Martine Berube said the decision to remove her was made to preserve the integrity of the Crown’s office as well as that of Potvin, herself.
Potvin has co-operated with the provincial police officers investigating Roberge, while authorities have cleared her of any involvement in her husband’s alleged activities.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), at the end of the day, we were told that she was not linked to the activities of her husband, Benoit Roberge,” Berube told reporters Thursday.
Berube said the decision to keep her on the sidelines could be revisited but for now she’s dealing with personal matters.
On Wednesday, Montreal’s police chief said his own colleagues had no idea what their former colleague was allegedly up to and were shocked and dismayed by the arrest.
Roberge had been working with Revenu Quebec, the province’s tax-collection agency, over the last several months.
The agency said Thursday it had terminated his employment.