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Quebec cabinet minister didn't step over the line in naming homicide victims

QUEBEC - The office of Quebec Environment Minister Yves-Francois Blanchet named the three people who were found dead in a house in Trois-Rivieres last week, coming close to breaking the law Thursday.

Quebec's prosecutors office issued a statement on Feb. 13 saying it was asking police to investigate after certain media identified the three people.

Minors who are the victims of crime cannot be named if the accused are also minors — unless there is consent from the parents of the victims.

Police arrested two 17-year-old males in the three deaths, which occurred on Feb. 11. Two of the victims were also 17, while the other was the 22-year-old sister of one of them.

Blanchet's office issued a statement early Thursday afternoon in which he named the three victims and offered condolences to their loved ones.

Blanchet is the minister responsible for the region encompassing Trois-Rivieres.

The statement was quickly withdrawn from the Quebec government's website and was later pulled from the website of the agency that distributes government releases.

Rene Verret, a spokesman for the Crown prosecutors office, said the law states "no person shall publish the name of a child or young person, or any other information related to a child or a young person, if it would identify the child or young person as having been a victim of, or as having appeared as a witness in connection with, an offence committed or alleged to have been committed by a young person."

Verret said identifying the deceased without specifying they were the subject of a crime committed by an adolescent was not a violation of the law.

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