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The DPCP questions Lametti's explanations | The Jacques Delisle affair

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar18,2024

David Lametti ordered a new trial for Jacques Delisle in 2021, even though the report of his committee of experts did not report any judicial error. The DPCP is still wondering today about the reasons which motivated this decision going against the conclusions of this document.

The DPCP questions Lametti's explanations | The Jacques Delisle affair

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In 2021, David Lametti, then the Minister of Justice, ordered a new trial in the case of the ex-judge Jacques Delisle. (Archive photo)

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Now that Jacques Delisle has admitted to having caused the death of his wife, the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) told Enquêtethat he expects the former minister of Justice David Lametti publicly justifies his decision to order a new trial for the former judge in 2021.

Radio-Canada met the big boss of the DPCP, Me Patrick Michel, on Friday at his office on Boulevard Laurier, in Quebec. The day before, Jacques Delisle had pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter at the Quebec courthouse, ending a 15-year legal saga.

Although the legal aspect is closed, Mr. Michel has agreed to address the incomprehension that persists surrounding David Lametti's decision to order a new trial in this case.

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Me Patrick Michel, Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions

We do not understand what could have convinced the minister to date, says Mr. Michel, who is concerned about the impact of this decision on public confidence in the justice system.

The Jacques Delisle affair

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The Jacques Delisle affair

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A decision like that […] not only discredits the administration of justice, but it also discredits the process of reviewing unjustified convictions, he deplores.

In his April 2021 press release, David Lametti announced that he had ordered a new trial for Jacques Delisle, maintaining that a judicial error had probably occurred.

He specifies that his decision stems from the discovery of new information which was not before the courts at the time of the trial.

Eight years after being sentenced to a life prison sentence for the murder of his wife, Jacques Delisle was therefore released in 2021 while awaiting his second trial.

Me Patrick Michel considers that Minister Lametti's statement is based on no element which supported the thesis of a judicial error.

We are not far from 10 out of 10 in terms of incomprehension. When reading the report, we did not see what was not already available during the first trial to justify the minister's decision.

A quote from Me Patrick Michel, director of criminal and penal prosecutions

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Survey asked Me Patrick Michel: If you had a question to ask David Lametti in relation to this file, what would it be?

Is -was there an intervention in the decision-making process […] that could have influenced his decision? he replies.

It may well be a decision by the minister, a discretionary decision, but this discretion cannot be exercised arbitrarily! he insists.

He mentions that the DPCP office sent two missives to the Criminal Conviction Review Group of Canada (CCRG) to try to understand what could explain the minister's decision.

The decision to order a new trial restores the presumption of innocence. So, it restores our burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in the context of a new trial, explains Mr. Michel.

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Last Thursday, former judge Jacques Delisle admitted his guilt to a charge of manslaughter, at the palace of justice of Quebec.

He explains that this concretely meant reassessing all of the evidence before deciding whether or not to resume the trial on the original charge of first degree murder .

We could have chosen to reduce the charge, we could have chosen to stay the proceedings if, for example, in light of the GRCC report, we ourselves had been convinced that an innocent person could have been convicted, specifies- he.

In one of the correspondences sent to the GRCC, the DPCP office writes: We wonder about the possibility that other elements which are unknown to us were submitted as part of the process to convince the minister.

We request your cooperation in order to confirm to us whether other […] elements exist and, if necessary, to inform us of the nature of these, telling us who to contact to obtain them, perhaps we also read in the document.

The DPCP never had answers to its questions.

Investigationcalled on David Lametti to give him the opportunity to explain himself, but he refused our interview request.

By email, the former minister wrote that he granted an interview to columnist Yves Boisvert of La Pressewho is interested in such files for a long time.

He goes on to mention that this should answer your questions, but I can assure you now that the process was well followed.

In this article published on March 16, David Lametti assures that his decision is not only based on the GRCC report.

He alludes to legal opinions that he ordered from, in particular, a judge and an eminent jurist from outside Quebec.

< p class="Text-sc-2357a233-1 fnWfaZ">We were unaware of the existence of these opinions. It doesn't help us understand. On the contrary, it arouses even more incomprehension regarding the decision-making process of the Minister to order a new trial.

A quote from Me Patrick Michel, Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions

It is inconceivable for Patrick Michel to learn, after three years of additional procedures, the existence of legal opinions.

I don't want to speculate, but we are entitled to ask ourselves: if we had had these opinions at the time we asked them, could that have influenced our decision to continue the procedures? Just that we have to ask ourselves these questions is worrying. This is not desirable for public confidence, he claims.

It is worrying to see that a jury's verdict confirmed by the Supreme Court could be invalidated like that on the basis of opinions that only the Minister of Justice saw, he laments.

Moreover, Patrick Michel admits today that he even considered having it reviewed by a judicial review before the Federal Court.

After analysis, the idea was abandoned. Because of the delays it would have caused. […] Things would not have ended in the first instance, he advises.

He pleads for more justification from the minister in such a situation. We would be entitled to expect explanations, a form of accountability, of accountability. What form should it take? I don't know, he admits.

To the question: Do you think that Jacques Delisle could have received preferential treatment?, Patrick Michel replies tit for tat: In any case, if he got preferential treatment, it's not DPCP.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my natasha@thetimeshub.in 1-800-268-7116

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