Ex-judge to appeal murder conviction in Quebec
Former Quebec Court judge Jacques Delisle walks to a courtroom with an unidentified person to listen to closing arguments in his trial in Quebec City, on Wednesday, June 6, 2012. (Jacques Boissinot / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Thursday, June 28, 2012 1:51PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 28, 2012 11:58PM EDT
A retired judge convicted of murdering his wife plans to appeal his conviction, according to motions tabled by his lawyer Thursday.
Jacques Delisle will, as expected, seek to overturn the first-degree murder conviction -- which is thought to be a first for a Canadian judge.
His lawyer has filed two court motions in Quebec City: one seeking his release on bail, and one seeking to challenge the lower-court verdict. The request for bail will be heard July 4.
Earlier this month, the 77-year-old retired judge was convicted of shooting and killing his wife, Nicole Rainville, in 2009.
At the time, the court heard, the victim was suffering from partial paralysis and the ex-judge wanted to move in with his mistress.
Delisle's lawyer said the prosecution made key mistakes, and that the presiding judge erred in his instructions to the jury. He also said the jury should have taken into account some testimony that suggested Rainville, despite her condition, could have managed to grip the weapon.
An emotional courthouse scene erupted as Delisle, believed to be the first Canadian judge to ever stand trial for murder, was found guilty of having shot his wife in the head with a pistol.
The first-degree murder verdict means the 77-year-old retired judge would automatically receive the sternest possible punishment in the Criminal Code: life in prison, with no possibility of parole for a quarter-century.
The voice of the presiding judge, Claude C. Gagnon, trembled as he explained that sentence on June 14.
The accused buried his face in his hands upon hearing the verdict. He slammed his fist into a table and said, "For God's sake, no."
There were pained screams from his family. Over in the public gallery, Delisle's son inexplicably removed his jacket and began unbuckling his belt, before being ordered to calm down by courthouse constables. He pleaded for the chance to hug his father -- and was denied.
With that, the once-prominent judge was escorted from the courtroom as a convict. It had taken an eight-man, four-woman jury just under three days to reach its decision.
At the time, the Crown prosecutor said the outcome proved that, "nobody is above the law, regardless of title, regardless of profession, regardless of someone's place in society."
But he did express sympathy for the son following the emotional scene: "The mother is dead, and then the father is in jail for the rest of his life," said Crown lawyer Steve Magnan. "So I do understand the reaction that they had."
On Nov. 12, 2009, Delisle said he found his wife already dead when he walked into the condo they shared in Quebec City.
She lay on a sofa, a .22-calibre pistol at her side and a bullet wound in her head. He called 911, telling the operator that his wife had committed suicide.
Delisle's wife, Marie-Nicole Rainville, was paralyzed on her right side by a stroke two years earlier and had just undergone therapy for a hip fracture that summer.