By Keith Lacey
Former Sudbury financier Pierre Montpellier has exhausted all avenues and will have to spend the next several months in jail awaiting trial on charges of bilking dozens of former clients of more than $6 million.
Following closing submissions Monday, Justice Ian Gordon rendered his decision to deny bail for Montpellier following a bail review hearing which took three full days of court time over two weeks.
Defence counsel Norm Williams and Glenn Sandberg asked for the bail review hearing stating Justice of the Peace Charles Sanders had made errors in law when Sanders first denied bail for Montpellier last November, only weeks after Montpellier had been arrested in England and transported back to Sudbury to face 302 charges of fraud.
Northern Life attempted to obtain a copy of Gordon's decision Wednesday, but was unable to by press deadline.
Gordon ordered a publication ban on all evidence presented at the bail review hearing.
Sanders had ruled five months ago the risk was too strong Montpellier presented a flight risk, one of the key considerations when determining whether or not to grant bail.
Montpellier, 40, faces 302 charges - 151 of fraud over $5,000 and 151 of theft over $5,000 - after allegedly stealing close to $6 million from 108 investors between 1995 and when he left Sudbury for England in late 1998.
Sandberg hadn't talked to Montpellier as of Wednesday afternoon, but said "I can imagine like anyone else, he will need time to digest the situation."
Gordon's ruling was "very fair and well considered and could easily have gone either way and we knew that entering the bail review process it would be a difficult decision," said Sandberg.
Sandberg acknowledged this case involves thousands of pages of documentation "with thousands more to come" and a three-year police investigation and will take several more months to prepare for trial.
"You don't do a case like this to get it done and out of the way," he said. "The fact is you have to take your time and be thorough and get it done right and that's going to take some time."
Sandberg wouldn't speculate on how long Montpellier will have to remain behind bars awaiting trial, but said it's fair to assume it won't happen in 2002.
There are no further avenues to pursue in relation to attempting to get bail for his client.
"The bail question has been answered and it's time to move on to the next step for Mr. Montpellier and for us (defence counsel)," he said.
Montpellier was a licensed mutual fund and limited market dealer operating a company known as Montpellier Group Inc. in Sudbury from 1995 until his departure.
During the same time period Montpellier incorporated Foreign Capital Corp. as an investment vehicle to raise money from investors to be used in international investments, say police.
Some 108 investors from all parts of Ontario put funds in the company believing their monies were being invested overseas in a guaranteed and secure venture with interest on the investments being paid on a regular basis. When investors didn?t receive any payments, they contacted several police agencies in the province to complain.
At the time of his arrest, Montpellier had been working overseas for an London employment agency as a recruiter, matching clients with jobs.
After a lengthy police investigation, Montpellier was arrested in England and arrived back in Canada Nov. 1.
During an initial court appearance in London, Montpellier waived his right to an extradition hearing and was remanded in custody.
Fuller told Gordon, one of Sudbury's most senior Superior Court Justices, Montpellier should be denied bail because he's a strong flight risk, the Crown's evidence against him is "very strong" and releasing him would put the administration of justice into question.
Williams argued Montpellier didn?t realize an expansive police investigation had been launched against him when he left Canada for England in 1998. He didn?t flee to evade police so he should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.