Former Quebec judge Jacques Delisle, convicted of murdering wife, applies for release from prison
4 years after becoming the only judge in Canadian history to be convicted of murder, he maintains innocence
The only judge in Canada to ever have served time for a murder conviction is filing for bail as he waits for a ministerial review of his case.
The lawyer for former Quebec judge Jacques Delisle, who was convicted in 2012 of first-degree murder in the death of his wife, filed an application for bail in Quebec Superior Court today.
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Delisle was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years in the shooting death of his wife.
In a joint investigation by the fifth estate and Enquête, three independent forensic experts reviewed the evidence in Delisle's case and concluded it pointed to suicide, not murder — corroborating Delisle's confession that, while he did not murder his wife, he did supply her with the gun that she used to kill herself.
In the application for bail, James Lockyer submits that Delisle should be released for several reasons, including that "new evidence [in the application for review] has sufficient merit to raise serious concerns about the validity of Mr. Delisle's conviction… It may reasonably be said that he is likely innocent and that Mrs. Rainville's death was a suicide."
Delisle's application for bail follows an application for ministerial review of his case at the federal level, submitted 18 months ago.
In Canada, convicted prisoners who have lost all legal appeals are allowed by law to ask the government to reopen the case by making a direct appeal to the federal justice minister.
The Department of Justice`s Criminal Conviction Review Group has advanced the application for review to the Investigation stage, the second of four stages in a ministerial review.
Lockyer said that means Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould "is saying that she has determined that there may be a reasonable basis to conclude that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred."
"Having done that, Mr. Delisle is entitled to bring a bail application, pending the minister's final decision," Lockyer said.
The review is the final recourse for Delisle, who has maintained his innocence since his wife's death.
If the review is successful, Delisle's case could be sent back to the Quebec Court of Appeal or a new trial could be set.