The Sudbury kidnapping case is postponed because defense attorney is ill

Michel Albert is accused of trying to kidnap a young girl who was walking to school

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The trial of a man accused of trying to abduct a young girl from a street in New Sudbury stalled on Tuesday because the defense attorney was ill.

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Ontario Court Judge Andrew Buttazzoni granted an adjournment over objections from Deputy QC Kaely Whillans.

“There are seven Greater Sudbury Police officers present and four EMS members,” Whillans told Ontario General Court Judge Andrew Buttazzoni. “As far as I know, the four EMS employees all work the same shift and had to be moved.”

Whillans argued that the trial should go ahead as 11 first responders had to be made available to testify.

Judge Buttazzoni said his hands were tied as the accused Michel Albert should have his lawyer present in court to defend him. As a result, the trial will resume on January 19 at Sudbury Courthouse.

“These are things that happen and it’s unfortunate,” he said after apologizing to first responders for the delay.

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Albert’s lawyer is Denis Michel. One of his partners, Danielle Vincent, had asked for an adjournment to January 19, the next scheduled hearing date.

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Vincent said Michel was ill.

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Buttazzoni wondered if it would be possible to have one group of first responders testify in the morning of January 19 and the other in the afternoon so as not to tie everyone up all day.

“The Crown will address you,” he said of the 11th. “It may very well be that some of you come in the morning, some of you in the afternoon.”

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Albert, 48, meanwhile, looks very different from his many court appearances in 2022. He is now clean-shaven and has short hair. Gone is a shaggy, salt-and-pepper beard and much longer hair.

The first day of the trial took place on January 5th. Witnesses included the alleged victim as well as members of the public who came to her aid on April 4, 2019 on Paquette Street in New Sudbury.

Greater Sudbury Police said the girl walked to school. The girl managed to escape with the help of passers-by.

Albert had tried not to be criminally responsible in the case, saying he had no memory of what happened that day and suffered from a mental disorder that left him unable to take credit for his actions. However, a forensic psychiatrist dismissed that defense in a report to the court.

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Michel then successfully argued for taking the case to court rather than convicting it.

Albert is charged with aggravated assault and unlawful detention in relation to the teenager.

He is also accused of assaulting two Greater Sudbury police officers, resisting arrest and attacking and threatening two police officers with a weapon – a fork.

Albert’s arrest on April 4, 2019 for the alleged attempted kidnapping led to a number of other charges and trials. As a result he became:

– sentenced to five years in prison for oral sex with a six or seven-year-old girl he knew while she was sleeping more than ten years ago;

– Sentenced to 2.5 years for possession of child pornography. The footage was discovered on a computer at Albert’s home when police were investigating the kidnapping attempt;

– sentenced to four months in prison for committing an indecent act by exposing himself to a teenager more than a decade ago; and

– 18 months probation for sexually assaulting a child 30 years ago.

Albert has maintained his innocence all along, claimed evidence that would declare him missing and accused prosecutors of wrongdoing.

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Twitter: @HaroldCarmichae

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