Former Quebec judge convicted of murder released pending new trial

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Former Quebec judge Jacques Delisle, convicted in 2012 of killing his wife, will regain his freedom pending his retrial.

The 85-year-old man presented a motion for release on Friday at the Quebec City courthouse. The motion was accepted by Judge François Huot of the Superior Court.

This unexpected development comes after federal Justice Minister David Lametti ordered a new trial for the former Quebec Court of Appeal judge on Wednesday.

Delisle was incarcerated at the La Macaza penitentiary in the Laurentians, where he was serving a life sentence. He is the first magistrate in the country to be convicted of murder.


Claiming to be the “victim of a miscarriage of justice,” he had applied in 2015 to the justice minister for a review of his case, a rare procedure provided for in the Criminal Code.

In his news release issued on April 7, Lametti stated that new information had been discovered that was not before the courts at the time of the trial and the appeal.

Delisle’s lawyers had argued that new ballistics tests show that the jury convicted him on inaccurate evidence.

On Friday, Jacques Larochelle and James Lockyer argued that their client should be released on bail pending his retrial on the following grounds:

  • the new evidence considered by the minister suggests that Delisle is probably innocent and that Ms. Rainville’s death was a suicide;
  • Delisle will surrender himself in accordance with the terms of any release order;
  • Delisle’s continued detention is not necessary in the public interest;
  • Of particular concern is Delisle’s age.
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“Mr. Delisle can provide the Court with sufficient security,” reads the motion recently filed with the Superior Court. “If he is released, he will return to Quebec City to reintegrate in his home.”

Delisle was convicted for the 2009 murder of his 71-year-old wife, Nicole Rainville.

In 2013, the Quebec Court of Appeal rejected his appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada subsequently refused to hear the case.

According to the ex-judge’s version, his wife, depressed and paralyzed on her right side, took her own life in 2009 with a revolver, found next to her lifeless body.

The Crown prosecutor had argued that Delisle had killed his wife to live with his mistress and avoid an expensive divorce.

Complex ballistic evidence was presented on both sides to show whether Rainville could have inflicted the gunshot wound on herself.

Delisle did not testify at his trial. However, in 2015, he had admitted in an interview that he had helped Rainville to take her life by leaving a loaded gun at her disposal.

– This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2021.

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