More on Bernier trial

Bernier adamant: Woman’s death during sex was an accident

Cross-Examined at murder trial; Crown presses accused to admit Boisvenu was forced into intercourse

ALLISON HANES

The Gazette

October 21, 2004

Hugo Bernier insisted over and over again yesterday that the death of Julie Boisvenu was purely “an accident.”

But as the Crown hammered at him to recount every detail of the alleged sexual tryst turned tragedy, Bernier showed not a shred of emotion for mistakenly killing the 27-year-old woman he thought had “nice eyes.”

Bernier, 29, stuck to his explanations for Boisvenu’s death as prosecutor Andre Campagna cross-examined him yesterday on the events of June 23, 2002.

Boisvenu disappeared in the early hours of that day after a night on the town in Sherbrooke. Her decaying body was found in a field near Bromptonville six days later. A coroner concluded she had been strangled.

Bernier was charged in September 2002 with first-degree murder and sexual assault.

But at his trial in Superior Court, Bernier told the nine-woman, three-man jury that his hand slipped while he was having consensual sex with Boisvenu in the back of her jeep.

He said when he fell on her, his elbow and forearm pressed on her neck for about 10 seconds, and by the time he managed to regain his balance, she was dead.

Campagna several times suggested Bernier’s version of events was not how things actually unfolded.

He proposed to the accused that instead of striking up a conversation, going for a ride, getting affectionate and finally deciding to have sex with each other, Bernier forced it all on Boisvenu.

“That’s what you would have liked to have happened, but that’s not what happened, is it?” Campagna asked after Bernier described how Boisvenu eagerly jumped into the back of her vehicle and began disrobing when he suggested they have sex.

“No,” Bernier said firmly.

“Isn’t it more that you told her: ‘Take off your shirt, take off your skirt, take off your panties, This is what’s going to happen’?” Campagna continued. “And she said, ‘Don’t (ejaculate) in me. I know what you want.’ ”

Bernier again denied it.

The prosecutor also asked Bernier why he didn’t call an ambulance for Boisvenu or try to revive her when he saw she was not breathing but instead drove to a field outside town, disposed of her clothes and ditched her corpse.

“It was an accident,” he repeated. “I panicked.”

“Did you think the police would think it was an accident?” Campagna asked.

Bernier said he lifted Boisvenu’s body out of the back of her car and rolled it down a slope.

Campagna also prodded Bernier over the fact he drank as many as 20 beers that night, even though a probation order prohibited him from consuming alcohol.

Bernier was serving a sentence for breaking and entering, and forcible confinement, after pleading guilty to those charges in the Gaspe in 1999. He was also barred from setting foot on the property of a college in Gaspe where the victim of that incident studied, the jury was told.

Bernier’s cross-examination is to resume today.

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