Robin Edgar says he had every right to go to city hall to bring to council’s attention an incident between him and Sue Montgomery.
Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Mayor Sue Montgomery took the witness stand on Tuesday to testify against a man she says has been harassing her for years.
The case heard at the Montreal courthouse is just one of four brought against Robert (Robin) Edgar, 59, an unemployed former photographer, since 2017. He was originally charged with having criminally harassed Montgomery before and after she was elected borough mayor in 2017. The case heard by Quebec Court Judge Dennis Galiatsatos on Tuesday alleges Edgar violated his release conditions.
Edgar’s long history with Montgomery originated around 1998 or 1999, when he began protesting against “clergy abuse” outside the same Unitarian church she attends.
Edgar was charged in January 2018 and showed up at Montreal city hall March 26, 2018, to ask Mayor Valérie Plante and opposition leader Lionel Perez for their opinion on an exchange between him and Montgomery eight days earlier. He said the exchange took place outside the church where he regularly holds his protests. Both Plante and Perez essentially replied by telling Edgar to stop wasting city council’s time. Montgomery, a former reporter with the Montreal Gazette, was present at the council meeting but had removed herself to an anti-chamber.
Galiatsatos was shown a video recording of Edgar asking his questions to Plante and Perez.
“I just don’t know what this guy is going to do. He is everywhere I go,” Montgomery said. She said the incident Edgar was referring to involved her showing up at the church on a Sunday and noticing Edgar had set up a series of signs.
She said Edgar had previously put up signs calling her part of a coverup of the abuse he alleges, so she “pushed his signs with my foot” and called the police because she believed at the time that Edgar had violated his conditions by being near her. She said the police informed her there was nothing they could do because Edgar wasn’t violent.
“I said: ‘This is psychological violence’,” Montgomery testified Tuesday. She added she would often become nervous when she would see Edgar at city hall.
Edgar took the stand in his defence on Tuesday and said he felt he had successfully had his conditions modified to a point where he was allowed to ask a question at city hall as long as he didn’t put the question directly to Montgomery.
“The conditions were modified to say that I could go to (city hall) meetings that were open to the public,” Edgar said. “I wanted to bring (what happened outside the church) to the attention of Valérie Plante, or no, actually to all of city council. I knew I could not communicate directly with Sue Montgomery.
“I would say I had every right to be there, even if I did see her.”
The trial resumes Tuesday afternoon.