US & Canada

Canadian senator Patrick Brazeau arrested on suspicion of assault

Suspended Senator Patrick Brazeau (left) is escorted into the court house in Gatineau, Quebec, on 10 April 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Suspended Senator Patrick Brazeau (left) may face assault and cocaine possession charges stemming from his arrest

An embattled Canadian senator has been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, Canadian media report.

Patrick Brazeau, 39, was taken into custody in Quebec early on Thursday following an altercation with a woman, police said.

The senator may face charges of assault, cocaine possession and uttering threats.

He was suspended from the Senate in November and already faces unrelated sexual assault and fraud charges.

"Mr Brazeau has been suspended without pay from the Senate and is no longer a member of our caucus," a spokesman for PM Stephen Harper told reporters following the arrest.

"Anyone who commits a crime needs to face the full force of the law‎."

Breach of trust

Mr Brazeau was intoxicated when officers found him fighting with Vanessa Brisson at a local residence, police in Gatineau said.

He also reportedly threatened a 50-year-old man, described as a friend of Ms Brisson's.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau was among three senators suspended last year over an expenses row

Authorities discovered a small amount of cocaine on Mr Brazeau during his arrest, police said.

Last year, Mr Brazeau was charged with sexual assault after a dispute with a woman in which he was accused of grabbing her and ripping her clothes.

A trial in that case is currently scheduled for Friday.

Mr Brazeau was appointed to the Senate in 2008 on Mr Harper's advice, but questions soon arose about his and other senators' expense claims.

He has been charged with fraud and breach of trust after allegedly claiming improper reimbursement for housing expenses. Officials say he claimed his primary residence was in Maniwaki, Quebec, though he spent most of his time around Ottawa, where Parliament sits.

Mr Brazeau was fined and saw his wages garnished until he was suspended in November.

He will be eligible to resume his position after the next election. In the interim he has reportedly taken work as a manager of a local gentlemen's club.

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