July 19, 2012
Convicted killer mom seeks new trial
By Marianne White, QMI Agency
QUEBEC CITY — Cathie Gauthier, who poisoned her three children as part of a botched murder-suicide pact with her husband, has asked the Supreme Court for a new trial.
The 38-year-old woman was the sole survivor of the deadly scheme that led to the deaths of Marc Laliberte, 46, and the couple’s three children — Joelle, 12, Marc-Ange, 7, Louis-Philippe, 4.
They were found dead on New Year’s Eve 2008 in the family bungalow in Saguenay, two hours north of Quebec City.
In an appeal filed Thursday, Gauthier’s lawyer claims the trial judge and the Quebec Court of Appeal both made legal errors in the first-degree-murder verdict handed down in October 2009.
The appeals court upheld the conviction in July 2011. The Supreme Court will hear Gauthier’s final appeal in December.
Defence lawyer Rene Duval says the trial judge was wrong to bar the jury from hearing arguments that Gauthier had pulled out of the suicide pact.
The defence also says the appeals court made an error in ruling that Gauthier should have prevented her children from drinking the deadly concoction prepared by Laliberte.
The 20-page appeal says the evidence points to either “a refusal to participate in a criminal plot or refusal to participate in a conspiracy,” and that “the jury could have believed Cathie Gauthier and rendered an acquittal.”
The jury agreed with the Crown argument that Gauthier did in fact reach a suicide pact with her husband.
The court heard that Gauthier bought the Serax and Gravol drugs that were used to kill the children.
The defence says there is “absolutely no evidence” Gauthier knew the drinks Laliberte served the family were poisoned.
The defence notes that their client’s fingerprints weren’t on the medication or on the glasses that contained the deadly drink.