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Montreal constable fails in bid to ban mocking ‘sexplosive’ porno flick

Stéfanie Trudeau, a constable notorious because she has been dogged by complaints of police brutality, had complained that the Montreal adult-movie production house AD4 Distribution Inc. last fall released a film parodying her. In this Youtube framegrab, Constable Trudeau is pepper spraying student protesters.

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To be a peace officer is to be a public figure who can be criticized, even mocked in a pornographic movie, a Quebec judge has ruled in the case of a Montreal policewoman famous for her foul mouth and coarse tactics.

Stéfanie Trudeau, a constable notorious because she has been dogged by complaints of police brutality, had complained that the Montreal adult-movie production house AD4 Distribution Inc. last fall released a film parodying her.

Constable Trudeau, who is known as Badge no. 728, or "matricule 728" in French, wanted a permanent injunction banning the film and $100,000 in damages.

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However, in a ruling released Monday, Justice Hélène Le Bel of the Quebec Superior Court said the movie only alluded to Constable Trudeau's public life and was therefore protected by its rights to freedom of speech.

"It is not up to the courts to adjudicate on the artistic merits or just plain merits of the work produced by AD4 or to sort out the bad caricatures from the good ones or to punish parodies that are in bad taste," Justice Le Bel wrote.

"In the public sphere, freedom of expression authorizes and allows people to criticize, comment, debate and challenge, through procedures, protests, humour, caricature or parody, the actions of those who govern or those who, like police officers, are in positions of authority."

The judge noted that the film didn't use images of Constable Trudeau and didn't mention her name. Its only reference was to the number 728. The movie was titled "728 Agente XXX" and used public footage of anti-brutality protesters chanting "728!"

The producers told the court they even made sure the uniforms and squad cars in the film were similar to the Toronto police service, not Montreal's.

Also, the main character of the movie (the trailer on YouTube says it is "completely sexplosive") is a blonde who does not look like Constable Trudeau.

The officer had argued that her badge number was closely linked to her but the judge said that identifier was fair game. "Badge number 728 isn't part of the private life of the plaintiff but her public life."

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Constable Trudeau shot to fame last year when she was videotaped indiscriminately pepper spraying people at a student protest.

Then, last October, she stopped four artists who were loading musical instruments into an apartment because one of them held a beer in public. One of the artists had a cellphone, which recorded the subsequent rowdy arrest, with Constable Trudeau placing a man under a headlock and dragging him down a flight of stairs.

"They were being obstinate ... I had to raise the tone and I started going crazy to get them to behave," she is heard telling another officer, in a foul-mouthed rant where she mocked them as leftists, "guitar scratchers" and "rats."

The ensuing uproar revealed that she had a long history of disciplinary problems, including an incident where her loud, gruff manners left a 14-year-old sexual assault victim in tears.

The 19-year veteran is under suspension while she is being investigated.

"She is now well known, even famous, and references to Badge no. 728 identify her but that trend is entirely tied to her actions as a police officer," Justice Le Bel wrote in her decision. "Those acts were not undertaken as part of her private life."

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About the Author
National reporter

Tu Thanh Ha is based in Toronto and writes frequently about judicial, political and security issues. He spent 12 years as a correspondent for the Globe and Mail in Montreal, reporting on Quebec politics, organized crime, terror suspects, space flights and native issues. More

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