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Hockey legend Guy Lafleur went too far to help wayward son, Crown contends

The Canadian Press
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Former Montreal Canadiens star Guy Lafleur and his wife, Lise, arrive for his trial on obstruction of justice in Montreal Thursday, April 16, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz Author: The Hockey News

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Hockey legend Guy Lafleur went too far to help wayward son, Crown contends

The Canadian Press
By:

MONTREAL - Guy Lafleur went too far in trying to help his troubled son by omitting certain information during a bail hearing in 2007, the Crown argued at the hockey legend's trial Thursday.

Lafleur, who is facing a charge of giving contradictory testimony, testified his son Mark told him his curfew did not extend to any particular location. And that was what Lafleur said he based his decision on when he allowed Mark to stay at a hotel on two occasions with a 16-year-old girlfriend.

The retired Montreal Canadiens star repeated over and over that his son always respected his curfew and never consumed drugs or alcohol under his watch.

Lafleur, 57, is alleged to have given the contradictory evidence during Mark's bail hearing on various criminal charges in September 2007.

Lafleur agreed at the time to supervise his son and to ensure he abided by the court-ordered curfew if he were granted bail pending trial.

But at a subsequent hearing in October 2007, it was revealed the elder Lafleur had driven his son to a hotel so he could spend time with a girlfriend on two occasions.

"He respected (the curfew) except for twice, when he asked if he could go to a hotel," Lafleur said that October.

"I thought that at 22, he had a right to some intimacy."

He testified Thursday the hotel visits had slipped his mind in the September court proceedings.

Lafleur said he didn't think the unsupervised hotel tryst was important and that it didn't occur to him to mention it. He maintained that even while at the hotel, his son abided by the curfew and other rules.

Once he was found out in October, Lafleur said he didn't have anything to hide.

Judge Claude Parent told Lafleur he was surprised the accused found the hotel visits to be unimportant.

"But what was important for me was that he respected his curfew and that he not abuse any substances," Lafleur repeated.

The Crown questioned how Lafleur could have known how his son was abiding by his conditions if the latter was not always at home.

"It's clear that Mr. Lafleur wants to do everything he can to help his son ... but sometimes his decisions unfortunately were not the right ones," prosecutor Lori-Renee Weitzman said in her closing arguments.

"He went too far in trying to protect his son and went as far as lying to the court."

Lafleur's lawyer, Jean-Pierre Rancourt, said there was enough reasonable doubt and that his client's response that he was unaware of the nuts and bolts of the curfew was plausible.

A warrant for Lafleur's arrest was issued in early 2008, which he said caused him great humiliation.

Parent agreed with Lafleur's lawyer that authorities violated his rights when they issued the arrest warrant, but the judge said it wasn't enough to warrant throwing out the charges.

Lafleur has launched a $3.5-million civil suit against Montreal police and the Crown over the warrant.

In February, Mark Lafleur was handed a 15-month conditional sentence on an array of charges including uttering death threats, forcible confinement and assault.

Weitzman explained that contradictory testimony only requires a contradiction without corroborating evidence, while proving perjury requires corroborating evidence and proof that one of the comments was a lie.

The crime carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison on conviction.

Parent renders a decision on May 1.

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Hockey legend Guy Lafleur went too far to help wayward son, Crown contends