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No miscarriage of justice, report concludes | The case Jacques Delisle

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Jacques Delisle at the Quebec courthouse on March 14, 2024

  • Marie-Pier Bouchard (View profile)Marie-Pier Bouchard

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The report submitted to the federal Minister of Justice, who decided to order a new trial for former judge Jacques Delisle, does not report any judicial error in the handling of his case, notedInvestigation, who was able to dissect it.

In 2021, David Lametti, who was then the minister in title, ordered the holding of a new trial based in particular on this document prepared by the Criminal Conviction Review Group of Canada (CRCG), a committee of jurists from the federal Department of Justice.

In this document, until today subject to a publication ban, the GRCC bluntly criticizes the defense strategy of the former judge. He even writes that Jacques Delisle took a huge risk in his quest to be completely exonerated.

We read, among other things, that he lied, that he manipulated the truth to use it as a strategy, that his explanations raise credibility issues and that he took a serious risk by not testifying at his trial. .

It was only in 2015, after having exhausted all his appeals, that Jacques Delisle publicly gave his version of the facts. In an interview on the show Enquête, the former judge made surprising revelations.

The Jacques Delisle affair

Consult the complete file

The Jacques Delisle affair

Consult the complete file

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“I loaded the gun […] and then put the gun on the table across from where Nicole was sitting” , confides Jacques Delisle who, initially, had told the police that his wife had committed suicide in his absence with a prohibited weapon, already loaded, which he had left on a table near the door entrance to their condo.

Jacques Delisle thus admits that he lied to the police and his family. He admits that he helped his wife commit suicide, but he persists and signs: You need to know: I did not kill Nicole.

The former judge still maintains his innocence during this interview. He claims to be the victim of a serious judicial error and, on the same day this interview was broadcast, he presented his request for review to the Minister of Justice.

To support his claim, he relies on a statement in which he explains why he did not tell the truth before as well as on expert opinions which call into question the work of the pathologist presented by the Crown prosecutor during his trial.

For Jacques Delisle, the new analyzes and his recent version of the facts are new evidence which could have had an effect on the trial in 2012.

Except that in its report, the GRCC mentions that the former judge could have given his version of the facts well before: by testifying at his trial, before the Court of Appeal or at the Supreme Court. But he decided not to.

For the Review Group, Jacques Delisle's new version of the facts is not as convincing and his statement raises credibility questions.

The GRCC also emphasizes that the moment when Jacques Delisle chose to reveal his version of events is also indicative of a strategic decision on his part.

As for the new expert opinions, the committee concludes, after a lengthy investigation, that despite the destruction of certain elements of evidence, several experts were able to pronounce based on what was available at the time of the trial .

Could these new opinions have influenced the verdict? The Review Group is not sure. He leaves it up to the minister to decide whether they could have had an effect on the verdict.

Finally, the Review Group recalls that the Ministry of Justice is not a court of appeal and that the extraordinary powers granted to the minister must be used to repair judicial errors.

And not telling the truth during a trial is not an error in the justice system, we write.

Presumably, David Lametti did not see things the same way.

In his statement issued in April 2021, he said a miscarriage of justice likely occurred. He said his decision“results from the discovery of new information that was not before the courts at the time of the trial.”

Thus eight years after being sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife, Jacques Delisle was released in 2021 pending further proceedings.

He finally pleaded guilty this morning to manslaughter.

The second trial ordered by ex-minister Lametti will not take place.

A few weeks ago, leaving the House of Commons, David Lametti hammered home the same message when asked about this: “In my opinion, based on my reading of the evidence and the new elements of the evidence, it there was the possibility of a legal error”, he responded during an interview which took stock of his career as a deputy and minister.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">He added: This is a power that the Minister of Justice has.

In the current system, Canada's Minister of Justice does not have to explain his decisions, regardless of the conclusions of the GRCC.

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