Prud’homme was suspended from his duties in March 2019 after the head of the province’s office of criminal prosecutions filed an ethics complaint against him concerning a telephone call he made to her 16 months earlier.
“After a year of investigation concerning the telephone call, I was cleared of any infraction of a criminal nature without any of the investigators ever meeting with me, though I offered to collaborate fully,” wrote Prud’homme.
“The true intention behind this investigation was not the telephone call, but rather to conduct a vast fishing expedition aiming to associate me with leaks to the media and based only on the assumption of my friendship with (Quebec MNA) Guy Ouellette and my family ties with ex-UPAC commissioner Robert Lafrenière.”
Prud’homme’s name repeatedly surfaced in a 2017 affidavit used to obtain a search warrant for then-Liberal MNA Ouellette. Quebec’s anti-corruption unit (UPAC) arrested Ouellette, a former SQ sergeant, in connection with allegations that he leaked confidential information to reporters. Lafrenière — UPAC’s director at the time — is Prud’homme’s father-in-law. The search warrant targeting Ouellette was ultimately invalidated, and Lafrenière resigned his post in 2018 amid criticism over his handling of the investigation.
In Friday’s statement, Prud’homme complained that “at no time was I informed of the true motive for my suspension and never was I met with to obtain my version of the facts, which goes against the principles of fundamental justice.
“The government is about to make a decision based on erroneous, incomplete facts that contain a multitude of shortcuts.”
A few hours after Prud’homme’s statement was made public, Quebec Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault announced that the province’s public service commission would examine Prud’homme’s case and recommend whether he be dismissed or suspended without pay.
Guilbault told reporters that an administrative investigation of Prud’homme found he had committed a sufficiently serious breach of ethics for the investigative process allowed by law to continue.
The report of that administrative investigation had been provided to Prud’homme in June and would be kept confidential unless he consented to share it publicly, Guilbault said.
Opposition parties wasted little time criticizing how the government had handled Prud’homme’s case.
Quebec Liberal public security critic Jean Rousselle complained that Guilbault had not been sufficiently forthcoming with the details of what, precisely, Prud’homme’s offence had been.
“We’re talking about the No. 1 person at the SQ,” he said. “Given the information we have right now, it seems this is a settling of scores and grudges.”
For Québec solidaire, Prud’homme’s case showed “it is time to end the petty politics within police forces. It tarnishes our police institutions, which are already lacking in (public) trust.”
QS MNA Alexandre Leduc said it was time to introduce civilian leaders into police forces “to break this unhealthy dynamic that has existed within these institutions for years.”
Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon said: “We are very concerned that Mr. Prud’homme will not have the chance to present his point of view. We ask once again to meet Mr. Prud’homme in camera and to have access to all the reports.”
Prud’homme said he intends to defend his rights and reputation before “a just and impartial body” since the political system “has already decided my career is finished.”
Finally, in his statement, Prud’homme reached out to all Quebec police officers, urging them to “keep your heads held high and continue to believe in the justice you defend daily.”
“Certainly, a part of the system is sick, but the public needs your integrity and your values.”