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PM's son faces second charge

Jennifer McPhee
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 28/02) - Michel Chretien, son of Prime Minister Jean Chretien, now faces two sexual assault charges instead of one.

NNSL Photo

Michel Chretien and his lawyer John Bayly (front) enter the courthouse Tuesday morning. - Merle Robillard/NNSL photo

The second charge was read Tuesday morning when Chretien made his first appearance in court with his lawyer John Bayly.

In the first charge, Chretien, 33, is accused of assaulting an 18-year-old girl at his Yellowknife apartment on July 15. That charge was laid on July 26.

According to the alleged victim, she and Chretien were drinking heavily with another friend on July 15. She told the Yellowknifer Chretien assaulted her after the friend left for the evening.

The incident that provoked the second sexual assault charge occurred between June 1, 1994 and Dec. 31, 1995.

Because of a publication ban, crown lawyer Bernadette Schmaltz could not say if the victim is the same person in both incidents.

Following the appearance, Chretien and his lawyer quickly left the courthouse, declining to comment.

A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 16. in Supreme Court. The Crown plans to call three witnesses.

Chretien is free on the conditions he stays in the Northwest Territories, does not possess or drink alcohol, does not contact the alleged victims, reports to the RCMP every Monday and gives the RCMP 24 hours notice before changing his address.

The Crown is proceeding by indictment. The maximum sentence for each count of sexual assault is ten years.

Chretien has two prior assault convictions.

In 1992, he was convicted of sexually assaulting a Montreal woman and sentenced to three years in a federal penitentiary. In an unrelated incident in 1997, he was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend's six-year-old son and received a nine-month suspended sentence.