On Nov. 17, the Crown prosecutor in the sexual assault case against three former McGill University Redmen football players—Ian Sheriff, Brenden Carriere, and Guillaume Tremblay— withdrew its charges.According to Richard Shadley, the lawyer representing the players, the prosecution decided to drop the charges following a reassessment of the evidence.
“The Crown made a request after reexamining and reevaluating the case, including all the evidence that they’d received, to withdraw the charges,” he said.
The former players were arrested back in April 2012 on charges of sexual assault and forcible confinement of a Concordia student. The three then-students continued to play on the Redmen team, following their arrest. The case was brought to light again in November 2013, through a story published by the Montreal Gazette. Certain students and organizations on campus, such as the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU), condemned the university for its inaction regarding the case, and McGill later hired a Harm Reduction Coordinator and announced that it would be considering developing a sexual assault policy, which is now currently in development.
Shadley said that his players were relieved by the decision made today.
“After spending a certain amount of time being tried of this serious criminal offence, to be told by the Crown that they are asking the court to drop the case, [their] response was one of relief, happiness,” he said.
A press statement released by Schurman, Longo & Grenier, the firm of Isabel Schurman, who previously represented Ian Sheriff, claimed that the players had maintained their innocence throughout the trial.
“Mr. Sheriff, Mr. Carriere, and Mr. Tremblay have maintained their innocence in this matter from day one,” the press statement reads. “Although presumed innocent, they have suffered grave prejudice, personally and professionally, because of this nightmare which has been ongoing since 2012. They are relieved that they have been discharged by the Court, and are anxious to get on with their lives.”
The Crown attorney could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.
This article was updated on November 17, 2014.