Acquitted, the author Yvan Godbout says he can “breathe again”
The writer Yvan Godbout, acquitted this week of the charges of child pornography brought because of passages of his horror novel, says that he can “breathe again”.
Share September 27, 2020 Updated September 28, 2020 at 9:36 am Share Acquitted, author Yvan Godbout says he can “breathe again” Christopher Reynolds The Canadian Press Writer Yvan Godbout, acquitted this week of child pornography charges brought on account of of passages from his horror novel, says he can “breathe again”.
“It's a huge weight less on my shoulders. I feel emotions that I haven't felt for a long time, ”he said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
Mr. Godbout and his publisher were acquitted of producing child pornography with the horror novel Hansel and Gretel.
Judge Marc-André Blanchard of the Superior Court also declared sections of the Criminal Code dealing with child pornography offenses invalid.
“Authors and creators will be able to breathe a little easier. They will no longer have the impression of having a Damocles sword above them, ”underlines Mr. Godbout during a telephone interview.
Despite everything, the anxiety felt for 18 months continues to weigh heavily on him and his family. He had to pay the price, both financially and socially, for these procedures.
“I have lost friends,” admits the fifty-something.
He recounts the circumstances of his arrest in March 2019 at 6 a.m.
“I was completely naked. I had to go to the bathroom, still naked. And the police accompanied me to the bathroom. It was kind of a nightmare. ”
Mr. Godbout chose to lie in the basement for the next two to three months, unable to cope with the trauma he experienced.
Its editor François Doucet considers that their legal victory has a bittersweet flavor.
“It is completely absurd to be accused without proof,” he commented.
He has received death threats by mail and on social media. When he was out of the country, the police mistook his identity and arrested one of his sons.
“Another of my sons tried to kill himself,” says Doucet.
Édition Ada, the publishing house he founded in 1992, collapsed financially, causing him “enormous financial difficulties”.
“Supermarkets have taken my books off their shelves. We publish 350 books a year, but we had to sell our buildings, our land. ”
More than 40 people have lost their jobs.
“I wonder how far federal and provincial prosecutors have read the Marquis de Sade,” he mocked.
Hansel and Gretel, a 250-page novel, chronicles the ordeal of a brother and sister who suffer physical, sexual and psychological abuse as part of a sci-fi and horror story.
Yvan Godbout had argued that a writer who neither advocates nor advises pornography should not see his freedom of expression restricted by criminal charges. He added that the law serves to protect “real children” and not those imagined in works of fiction.
The Attorney General of Quebec acknowledged that the law violates freedom of expression, but argued that the limit was justified to protect children, among the most vulnerable members of society.
In his 53-page judgment, Judge Marc-Blanchard ruled in favor of the writer and his editor.
The province has 30 days to appeal.
Mr. Godbout plans to “rebuild” his life before relaunching his career as a writer or even suing.
“Right now, I really want to focus on me and my family. I was not the only one injured. There are my relatives and my publishing house who have suffered incredible and almost irreparable damage. ”