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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - The first Canadian judge to ever stand trial for murder
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: November 12, 2009
Date of arrest: June 15, 2010
Date of birth: 1935
Victim profile: Marie-Nicole Rainville, 71 (his wife)
Method of murder: Shooting (.22-calibre pistol)
Location: Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Status: Sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for 25 years on June 14, 2012
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Jacques Delisle (born 1935, Montreal, Canada) is a Canadian judge who sat on the Quebec Superior Court from 1985 to 1992, and on the Quebec Court of Appeal from 1992 until his retirement in 2009.

In June 2010, he was arrested and charged with murder, in connection with the November 2009 death of his wife Marie-Nicole Rainville.

Delisle is the first judge in Canadian history to be charged with murder.

His trial began in May 2012; it had been scheduled to begin in 2011, but was delayed after one of the prosecutors withdrew.

On June 14, 2012, Delisle was found guilty of first-degree murder for killing his wife.


Ex-Quebec judge loses appeal in murder case

The Canadian Press

May 29, 2013

QUEBEC – A retired Quebec judge sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife has failed to have his conviction overturned.

The Quebec Court of Appeal announced Wednesday it has dismissed an appeal by Jacques Delisle, who was found guilty last June of first-degree murder.

Delisle, who spent nearly a quarter-century on the bench, is believed to be the first Canadian judge to ever stand trial for murder.

A jury found him guilty in the shooting death of Marie-Nicole Rainville in November 2009.

Delisle, who is in his late 70s, was given a life sentence without possibility of parole for 25 years.

Delisle maintained his wife was in poor health and that her death was a suicide. She died of a bullet to the head.

The Crown argued during Delisle’s month-long trial that he killed his 71-year-old spouse because he wanted to avoid a costly divorce and move in with his former secretary, with whom he had been having an affair.

Delisle’s lawyer argued there were procedural errors that led to the guilty verdict. But in a 41-page ruling released Wednesday, the province’s highest court said the former magistrate failed to show the verdict was unreasonable.

According to its ruling, “the guilty verdict for murder is one that a jury acting judicially could reasonably render” and that “there was sufficient evidence to justify a conviction.”

As for the decision to convict on a first-degree murder charge as opposed to a lesser charge, the appeals court ruled that given Delisle was planning a life with his mistress, the verdict was one a jury could reasonably render.

The Crown said it was pleased with the ruling.

“We are very satisfied,” Michel Fortin, one of the prosecutors in the case, told The Canadian Press. ”It confirms what we felt since the beginning.”

Delisle’s lawyer, Jacques Larochelle, had also argued that the trial judge had given improper instructions to the jury by not giving enough importance to the ballistic evidence, which the defence used to push its suicide defence.

The appeals court did not retain the argument.

Delisle retired from the bench in 2009, having served as an appeals court justice since 1992. Previously, the longtime magistrate had spent seven years as a Quebec Superior Court justice.

Rainville was handicapped and required constant care. She had been paralyzed on one side by a stroke in 2007 and was recovering from a fractured hip suffered a few months before she died.

She was found dead in the couple’s condominium on Nov. 12, 2009.

It was Delisle who called 911 and told police he’d found her with a revolver next to her body. Police originally accepted that theory until they probed further.

Delisle was still behind bars, having failed to secure bail last July while awaiting a ruling on the appeal.

— With files from Pierre Saint-Arnaud in Montreal


Quebec judge Jacques Delisle found guilty of murdering wife

The Canadian Press

June 14, 2012

QUEBEC – An emotional courthouse scene erupted as Jacques Delisle, believed to be the first Canadian judge to ever stand trial for murder, was found guilty Thursday of having shot his wife in the head with a pistol.

The first-degree murder verdict means the 77-year-old retired judge will automatically receive the sternest possible punishment in the Criminal Code: life in prison, with no possibility of parole for a quarter-century.

The voice of the presiding judge, Claude C. Gagnon, trembled as he explained that sentence.

The accused buried his face in his hands upon hearing the verdict. He slammed his fist into a table and said, “For God’s sake, no.”

There were pained screams from his family. Over in the public gallery, Delisle’s son inexplicably removed his jacket and began unbuckling his belt, before being ordered to calm down by courthouse constables. He pleaded for the chance to hug his father – and was denied.

With that, the once-prominent judge was escorted from the courtroom as a convict. It had taken an eight-man, four-woman jury just under three days to reach its decision.

The Crown prosecutor said the outcome proved that “nobody is above the law, regardless of title, regardless of profession, regardless of someone’s place in society.”

But he did express sympathy for the son following the emotional scene: “The mother is dead, and then the father is in jail for the rest of his life,” said Crown lawyer Steve Magnan. “So I do understand the reaction that they had.”

It will now be up to Delisle’s lawyers to decide on an appeal. It’s also up to them to request special prison security, if they want it, for the ex-judge. They did not comment Thursday.

On Nov. 12, 2009, Delisle said he found his wife already dead when he walked into the condo they shared in Quebec City.

She lay on a sofa, a .22-calibre pistol at her side and a bullet wound in her head. He called 911, telling the operator that his wife had committed suicide.

Delisle’s wife, Marie-Nicole Rainville, was paralyzed on her right side by a stroke two years earlier and had just undergone therapy for a hip fracture that summer.

The accused wept while listening to testimony at his trial about his wife’s physical challenges, including the loss of the ability to speak foreign languages, play bridge and do puzzles because of her brain damage.

One Quebec legal observer now says he expects an appeal because, at this point, Delisle has nothing left to lose.

He says the verdict was predictable, however, for two reasons: First, Delisle never testified in his own defence and juries in murder cases often react badly to that. Also, the forensic evidence was devastating, says criminal-law expert Robert LaHaye.

“(The verdict) doesn’t surprise me,” LaHaye said in an interview.

Police originally appeared to accept Delisle’s explanation for his wife’s demise and the death was officially listed as a suicide. But further investigation led to first-degree murder charges against the retired Quebec Court of Appeal justice.

The Crown argued during Delisle’s month-long trial that he killed his 71-year-old spouse because he wanted to avoid a costly divorce and wanted to move in with his former secretary, with whom he had been having an affair.

Johanne Plamondon, the former secretary, testified she was ready to move in with Delisle a few days before he was arrested for Rainville’s murder in 2010.

Plamondon, 57, had started working for Delisle as a legal secretary in 1983 when he was named to Quebec Superior Court and followed him when he was appointed to the Quebec Court of Appeal in 1992.

While she and the judge were friends at first, Plamondon testified their feelings evolved in the months before Rainville’s stroke in April 2007.

Another key area of contention was a black smudge on Rainville’s left hand from gunshot residue – in a bizarre spot, outside the palm.

The Crown said that happened as she tried to defend herself from the fatal bullet. The defence insisted it came from her awkward grip on the gun as she took her life.

Rainville’s health had been deteriorating and, in the summer of 2009, she fractured her hip. She was in the hospital until two weeks before her death.

Rainville’s sister, Pauline, said Marie-Nicole had expressed suicidal thoughts to her in correspondence in the months after her stroke.

Pauline Rainville also said her sister feared being a burden on her family after her broken hip because of her limited mobility.

She had actually wanted to go into a nursing home instead of returning to her condo.

Pauline Rainville also said she didn’t approve of the care provided by Delisle, and said she didn’t think she was ready to be discharged from the hospital after her hip therapy because she was weak and thin.

Pauline Rainville said she had limited contact with her sister because she didn’t like being around Delisle, whom she found aloof.

Marie-Josee Tremblay, who cared for Rainville in the hospital, said she found her combative and sometimes sad and tired but never depressed.

With files by Nelson Wyatt


‘Destroyed, but not guilty,’ says judge accused of murdering his wife

Tristan Hopper and Marianne White -

May 8, 2012

Summoned by an unidentified 911 caller on Nov. 12, 2009, Quebec City police rushed to the home of retired judge Jacques Deslisle amid reports of “a woman who had just killed herself.”

Entering the apartment in the upscale Sillery district just after 10 a.m., officers came upon the body of Marie-Nicole Rainville, Mr. Delisle’s wife of 49 years, dead of a gunshot wound to the temple.

The 71-year-old, who was severely handicapped as the result of a stroke only months before, had apparently committed suicide.

Seven months later, to the astonishment of neighbours and the Quebec legal establishment, police returned to the same address to arrest Mr. Delisle and charge the veteran judge with first-degree murder.

On Monday, the first day of his trial, the gaunt, grey-haired 77-year-old had the dubious distinction of being the first judge in Canadian legal history to stand trial for murder. He has pleaded not guilty.

“I didn’t kill Nicole,” Mr. Delisle told a court hearing in March 2011. “I’ve been destroyed but that doesn’t mean I’m guilty.”

He is also charged with possessing a loaded, unregistered firearm, for which he will face a separate trial.

Mr. Delisle’s lawyer, Jacques Larochelle, a prominent defence attorney known for having represented Hell’s Angels’ alleged leader, Maurice “Mom” Boucher, is expected to argue Ms. Rainville’s death was suicide and anything else is mere speculation.

Prosecutors are expected to use medical evidence and ballistics to bolster a claim the woman would have been unable to hold the weapon that fired the fatal shot.

The case has proved a logistical headache for the provincial prosecutor, given the difficulty of ensuring an impartial trial for a man with so many ties to the legal profession.

“To have the career he had, he had to be an upstanding and well-known man … that’s why [the accusation of first-degree murder] made us in the legal community react. We are truly stunned,” criminologist Jean-Pierre Rancourt told La Presse in 2010.

At a 2010 bail hearing for Mr. Delisle, Superior Court Justice Claude Gagnon stressed he had “no memory of any social event I might have attended with him and I don’t know any member of his family.”

The Canadian Judicial Council has noted the case is unique, but remained confident Mr. Delisle would nevertheless be able to receive an impartial trial.

Ms. Rainville married Mr. Delisle in 1960, and the couple had two children. In 2009, she suffered a devastating stroke that left one side of her body paralyzed and required her to use a wheelchair. A subsequent hip fracture aggravated her condition.

When Mr. Delisle stepped down from the bench in the spring of 2009, some say reluctantly, he told colleagues he was leaving to care for his wife full time.

Because of Ms. Rainville’s medical condition, associates of Mr. Delisle began to suspect the killing — if performed by Mr. Delisle — was done out of compassion.

Mr. Delisle, who was born in Montreal in 1935, obtained his law degree at the age of 22 from Laval University and was a senior partner by the close of the 1960s.

He was first appointed to the Quebec Superior Court in 1983 and moved to the Court of Appeal in 1992, a position he would hold until his retirement.

One of the judge’s most high-profile cases was that of Micheline Vaillancourt, who was convicted of murder in 1995 for shooting her abusive husband while he slept. He was among the panel of judges that overturned her sentence on appeal, stating the woman had good reason to believe her husband would kill her and saw murder as the only way out.

“He is certainly not an evil man,” Ms. Vaillancourt told Quebec media soon after Mr. Delisle’s arrest.

“He is not just a judge, he is a human being. He understood my suffering, and now he is the one suffering.”

At the close of proceedings on Monday, eight male and four female jurors had been selected to decide Mr. Delisle’s fate. The trial is expected to take four weeks.


Retired judge charged in wife's murder

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Retired judge Jacques Delisle was charged in the Quebec City courthouse Tuesday with the first-degree murder of his wife.

Delisle, 75, is a retired Court of Appeal justice who allegedly killed his 71-year-old wife, Nicole Rainville, on November 12 in the province's capital.

The death was initially classified as a suicide, said Quebec police Const. Sandra Dion, but the arrest was made following a lengthy investigation.

An autopsy report revealed new information about the woman's death.

"The events go back to Nov. 12, 2009 (when), around 10:22 in the morning, the Quebec City police service received a call about a woman who had just taken her life," Dion said.

A court clerk said Delisle, who was named to the Quebec Court of Appeal in 1992, also faces a charge of possessing an illegal firearm.

The murder case is extremely rare for a person of Delisle's credentials, said Martine Berube, spokesperson for the Quebec Bureau of Criminal and Penal Prosecution.

"Having a judge accused of first degree murder in Canada -- we've never seen that before," she said.

Delisle, a Montreal native who retired in April 2009, is being detained until his next court appearance on Monday.



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