Justice minister calls for probe after report judge acquitted friend for traffic fine

Quebec's justice minister has asked the province's judicial council to investigate a municipal judge who reportedly acquitted a friend over a traffic violation the day before he was set to retire.

Sonia LeBel said Tuesday she sent a letter to the judicial council after reading about former municipal court judge Jean Herbert in the Journal de Montreal.

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The Journal reported that last Feb. 4, Herbert moved forward a friend's court date so it wouldn't interfere with her planned vacation and then took 42 seconds to acquit her of a traffic violation. Before his retirement, Herbert sat on the bench in Longueuil, south of Montreal.

Herbert told the newspaper the woman acquitted, Diane Lelievre, was an artist and he had once bought a painting from her. Lelievre told the newspaper the judge was a patient of her spouse, an ophthalmologist.

Herbert also told the Journal he helped other friends by changing their court dates.

LeBel said she considers the facts reported in the article to be serious but declined to comment further.

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