Minister of Justice orders new trial in Quebec case following conviction review

From: Department of Justice Canada

The Government is committed to a fair and impartial criminal justice system that protects communities, and respects the needs of victims while guarding against potential miscarriages of justice.

The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced today that following an extensive review, he has ordered a new trial for Mr. Jacques Delisle under the conviction review provisions of the Criminal Code.

Before deciding to order a new trial or appeal, the Minister of Justice must be satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to conclude that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred. Determining whether a miscarriage of justice likely occurred involves a close examination of information initially submitted in support of the application, followed by an in-depth investigation. During this process, all relevant information is considered, including whether the application is supported by new matters of significance, usually new information that has surfaced since the trial and appeal.

The Minister’s decision that there is a reasonable basis to conclude that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred is the result of the identification of new information that was not before the courts at the time of Mr. Delisle’s trial or appeal. This is not a decision about the guilt or innocence of the applicant. Rather, the decision leads to the case being returned to the justice system, where the relevant legal issues may be determined by the courts according to the law.

In 2012, Mr. Delisle was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Marie Nicole Rainville, and sentenced to life imprisonment with no eligibility for parole for 25 years. In 2013, the Quebec Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal. The Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear his case.

Mr. Delisle’s matter has been remitted to the Quebec Superior Court for a new trial.

Quotes

“Promoting a fair and impartial criminal justice system that respects the needs of victims while protecting against potential miscarriages of justice is crucial to furthering Canadians’ confidence in our justice system. Following a thorough review, and the identification of new information, I am satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to conclude that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred in Mr. Delisle’s case and that there should be a new trial.”

The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Quick facts

  • Section 696.1 of the Criminal Code provides that a person who has been convicted of an offence and who has exhausted all rights of appeal may apply to the Minister of Justice for a review of his or her conviction.

  • The Criminal Conviction Review Group of the Department of Justice conducts an investigation on behalf of the Minister of Justice. The Minister can order a new trial or appeal if satisfied that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred.

  • As announced on March 31, 2021, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, has appointed the Honourable Harry LaForme, former justice of the Ontario Court of Appeal, to lead public-facing consultations on the creation of an independent Criminal Case Review Commission. He will be joined in conducting these consultations by the Honourable Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré, former judge of the Court of Quebec.

  • Additional information about the role of the Minister of Justice in the criminal conviction review process in Canada: Criminal Conviction Review Process.

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