|Lise Thibault has faced criminal charges in Quebec courthouse, Monday, January 31, 2011. (STEVENS LEBLANC/QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)
QUEBEC CITY — Quebec's court of appeal has rejected the bid of former lieutenant-governor Lise Thibault to have her fraud trial scrapped because she claims that as the Queen's representative, she wasn't subject to the court system.
The 73-year-old is accused of using taxpayer dollars as her personal spending account. She allegedly bilked taxpayers of $700,000 from April 1997 to March 2007.
But the former Quebec viceroy claims the case should be scrapped because of royal prerogative, which is the collection of rights held by the Queen or her designates — the governor general and lieutenant-governors — that can technically override Canadian law.
She's accused of fraud, breach of trust, fabricating false documents and using false documents.
The federal and provincial auditors general blasted Thibault for allegedly using expense accounts for an array of personal items.
The federal report says she double-billed the federal and provincial governments to the tune of $129,000.
More than $1.7 million was paid out to the former Quebec viceroy between April 1997 and March 2007.
About $1 million was spent on official duties, while the rest went to expenses already covered by the Quebec government or for activities not related to official duties, the audit found.
On some of Thibault's travel claims, the only agenda item listed was golfing or skiing.
Among the receipts that raised eyebrows are those for a $59,000 garden party, a $30,000 Christmas party and bills for three different meals that were had simultaneously at three different restaurants.
If Thibault chooses not to appeal to the Supreme Court, her fraud trial is scheduled to begin on March 4.