May 7, 2012
Murder trial for ex-judge to begin
By Kathryne Lamontagne, QMI Agency
QUEBEC CITY - The murder trial of retired Superior Court judge Jacques Delisle began Monday with the selection of 12 jurors who will decide if he shot and killed his disabled wife.
Delisle, 77, is the first Canadian judge ever to be tried for first-degree murder.
He pleaded not guilty Monday to the murder charge and has repeatedly maintained his innocence.
Marie-Nicole Rainville's body was found on Nov. 12, 2009, in the condominium she shared with Delisle in Quebec City. The 71-year-old woman had been shot in the head.
Delisle was arrested seven months later amid reports that his wheelchair-bound wife had been killed after suffering a stroke and a hip fracture.
The murder rocked the legal community, with the Canadian Judicial Council issuing a rare statement insisting that Delisle's status wouldn't protect him from justice.
Defence lawyer Renald Beuadry, who appeared before Delisle several times, said the case is unique in the legal world.
"I've been practicing for 30 years and I've never seen a judge charged with murder," he told QMI Agency. "We've seen drunk driving cases and others have been found in brothels, but a murder? Never."
Delisle was appointed to Superior Court in 1983 and was elevated to the Quebec Court of Appeal in 1992.
The veteran jurist had ruled on several high-profile cases during his lengthy career, including the extradition case of Montreal mafia boss Vito Rizzuto.
The former judge's trial is expected to last one month.
Proceedings were delayed last year after one of the prosecutors quit.
The trial had been set to begin this past March but proceedings were delayed again when the defence team suffered health issues.