Founder of Just for Laughs faces charges of rape and indecent assault

Gilbert Rozon, a founder of the Just for Laughs festival, is seen leaving court earlier this year. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Entertainment mogul Gilbert Rozon’s trial for rape and indecent assault will take place over five days in June.

Crown and defence lawyers appeared before a judge Tuesday and agreed to trial dates from June 8 to June 12.

A publication ban covers the identity of the victim — a female complainant with allegations dating back to 1980 in Saint-Sauveur, Que.

The alleged offences took place between June 1 and Sept. 21, 1980, when Rozon was 25.

He was not in court on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Bruno Menard says the Crown will reserve comment until it’s time to present the case to the court, but he did say the alleged victim would testify.

“I don’t want to go over the nature of the evidence that we’re going to present in the case, we prefer to present that first and foremost in court,” Menard told reporters.

Rozon, 65, one of the founders of Just for Laughs, was charged in December 2018 with rape and indecent assault.

Trial before judge alone

He opted for a trial before judge alone during a court appearance last month. In November, Rozon renounced his right to a preliminary hearing.

The allegations against Rozon have not been tested in court. The charges reflect those that were on the books at the time of the offences — rape has been replaced by sexual assault in the current version of the Criminal Code.

The maximum sentence is life in prison, but the prosecutor noted that maximum sentences are rarely imposed by the court, and each case is examined individually.

The prosecutor also brushed aside any challenges presented by the heavy media attention the case has received.

“Once we’re inside the courtroom, it’s not important,” Menard said. “What does count is the evidence and the charges.”

Rozon’s lawyer, Pierre Poupart, did not speak to reporters on Tuesday.

By The Canadian Press