The Judith Brassard Case (November 2, 2017)

Source: Le Soleil
Author: Elisabeth Fleury
November 2, 2017
Translation: Jasmine Soso (Original publication in French on April 1, 2017)


The Colombian Justice investigating false testimonies in the Judith Brassard Case

Colombia’s attorney general opened an investigation for the allegations of false testimonies in the trial of Quebec citizen, Judith Brassard, who has been rotting in a prison of this South American country since 2008 for crime she swears she did not commit.

“The specialized unit for false testimonies of the Fiscalía General de la Nación has agreed to look into the file. There has not yet been any indictments, but this is still good news”, rejoices the president of the association En Vero (previously the Canadian Association for Rights and Truth CART), David Bertet, in an interview with Le Soleil, who has had a close interest in the Brassard case since 2015.

Based in Montreal, Bertet’s association is working together with a Colombian organization, Fonde Justicia Y Verdad, to get Judith Brassard released. “Things have advanced a lot”, says the optimist president of En Vero.

Judith Brassard is serving a 28 year sentence in prison for presumably ordering the murder of her Colombian spouse, Felipe Rojas, an orthodontist and member of a rich and influential family in Santa Marta, who was assassinated while leaving his office on the 4th of December in 2006.


Long Saga

The couple got married in Quebec in the mid 90’s, and then moved to Santa Marta, where they had two kids. At the time of the murder, Judith Brassard, had returned to live in Canada, where she started divorce proceedings. As per the entreaties of her in-laws, Mrs. Brassard had accepted to stay in Colombia after the funeral. This is where her ordeal began.

2 of the 4 people arrested for the murder, Felipe Rojas cleaning lady, Katerine Pitre, and her spouse, John Osorio, both accused the Quebecoise of having requested the assassination of her spouse through a phone call on December 3rd 2006. Judith Brassard would be arressted and incarcerated on the 28th of August in 2008.

In court, the couple alleged that Judith Brassard wanted to get her hands on the deceased’s life insurance and have custody of the children. Pitre and Osorio later retracted this, declaring under oath that the woman had never been involved with the murder of her husband. A register of phone calls filed into evidence has also demonstrated that Osorio never spoke to Mrs. Brassard on the eve of the murder, like he had declared in court during his interrogation.


No Evidence

Despite the couples retractions, the North-Colombian justice system, known for its corruption, decided not to dismiss their false testimonies and sentenced the mother of the family to 28 years in prison on the 24th of February, 2010.

In 2012, the Colombian ombudsman issued a report in which he stated that there was no proof that Judith Brassard played a role in the murder of her husband. Which did not prevent the Supreme Court of Colombia from confirming the guilty verdict of the Quebecoise the year before.

In an interview for the show Enquete of Radio-Canada, in 2014, the killer hired to kill Felipe Rojas, Gabriel Ramirez Polo, had himself also assured that Judith Brassard did not command the murder. He claimed to have wanted to reveal everything at his trial, but did not do so after being threatened with an increased sentence.

According to the association En Vero, Ramirez Polo would have been assassinated in January 2016 while enjoying a first three-day leave.


Victim of a set up?

For the defendants of Judith Brassard, there is no doubt that the Quebecoise has been the victim of a setup and she did was not given the right to a fair and equal trial. En Vero deplores that all tracks have not been explored, as if the cause had been heard of in advance.

“We will be presenting new elements of proof in front of the Colombian judicial”, indicates David Bertet, without revealing it. If the identity of the real sponsor of the murder is still to be proven and reasoned, to clear, Mr. Bertet has high hopes to see Judith Brassard liberated.

“The Colombian program Caracol Television recently aired a report that sparked a lot of reactions in favor of Judith on social networks. There are a lot of Colombians that identify with her, who have themselves also experienced injustices. We managed to reverse the trend. For them, it’s no longer guilty Judith Brassard”, rejoices Mr. Bertet.

However, for the family of Felipe Rojas, who did everything so that Judith Brassard would be convicted, and continue to do everything to prevent her release. “No need for more evidence, she was the only one who didn’t like him, she stole money from him, she wanted to steal his children from him, and she was unfaithful”, wrote the sister of Felipe, Maria, on Twitter, accusing “the Canadian NGO (En Vero) of paying witnesses to get her out of jail”.

The confident Quebecoise

According to David Bertet, who met Judith Brassard last summer and now has regular contact with her, the mother of the family “is doing well”. “Her morale is good enough, she knows where we’re headed and it reassures her. I feel confident and enthusiastic, she is certain that her innocence will be recognized”, he says.

Who is Judith Brassard?
  • Originally from Dolbeau, Judith Brassard graduated in teaching music and singing from the University of Laval
  • Author, composer, and performer is today in her late 40’s
  • She married Felipe Rojas in Quebec in August 1994
  • Judith Brassard taught music and singing in a private college of Santa Marta, and even made a CD: AMAME
  • During her brief return to Canada, in 2006, she moved to Montreal, where she had continued to teach in a private college