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Bertrand Charest denied bail pending appeal of his conviction


MONTREAL — Ex-national ski coach Bertrand Charest has been denied bail pending an appeal of his sex-crimes conviction involving his teenage students.

The Quebec Court of Appeal heard arguments last Thursday and Justice Martin Vauclair handed down his ruling Monday.

Charest was found guilty last June of 37 of the 57 sex-related charges he was facing and a judge recently sentenced him to a 12-year prison term.

His lawyers had said they had serious grounds for appealing the guilty verdicts and that Charest's chances of being acquitted or getting a new trial were very good.

But Vauclair ruled against the defence, saying Charest's statements to various specialists after the guilty verdicts ''show a clear lack of understanding of the situation and of the consequences of his crimes" on his victims.

Vauclair noted that a Quebec court judge refused Charest bail when he was arrested in March 2015 and that a Quebec Superior Court justice had upheld that decision.

Last week, a lawyer for Charest proposed $50,000 bail and a $50,000 undertaking on his property and said his client would agree to report to provincial police on a regular basis, abide by a curfew, abstain from working as a coach and stay away from parks and schools.

The convictions involved nine of the 12 women who'd accused Charest of crimes dating back more than 20 years.

All but one of the 12 were under the age of 18 at the time, with the youngest being 12 years old.

The Crown opposed Charest's release.

Charest's attorney also said last week they will be appealing the 12-year sentence.

With time served in detention since his arrest in 2015, Charest has seven years and 10 months left in the sentence.

The trial judge called Charest a sexual predator last June and earlier this month had more harsh words for the accused.

Quebec court Judge Sylvain Lepine said Charest still did not grasp the severity or the consequences of his crimes and has denied the need for therapy.

He said the victims were still suffering from what he called "serious health consequences'' as a result of the abuse that took place between 1991 and 1998.

The Canadian Press

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