Quebec’s top court accepts Guy Turcotte’s challenge of parole eligibility

Quebec's top court will hear the appeal of a former doctor who stabbed his children to death and was ordered to spend at least 17 years behind bars before seeking release.

MONTREAL — Quebec’s top court will hear the appeal of a former doctor who stabbed his children to death and was ordered to spend at least 17 years behind bars before seeking release.

Guy Turcotte’s attorneys were seeking permission Tuesday to appeal a Quebec Superior Court ruling that he not be allowed to apply for parole until serving a minimum of 17 years of a life sentence for two second-degree murder convictions.

Justice Marie St-Pierre of the Quebec Court of Appeal said that since the appeal was actually based on a question of law alone, permission wasn’t needed.

Instead, the challenge of the parole eligibility will be folded into an earlier appeal of his conviction.

In December, a jury found Turcotte guilty in the February 2009 deaths of Olivier, 5, and Anne-Sophie, 3, who were stabbed a total of 46 times.

Last month, Superior Court Justice Andre Vincent ruled that Turcotte, 43, must serve at least 17 years before he can seek parole.

The judge said it reflected the “heinous and horrible crimes.”

A jury found Turcotte not criminally responsible in 2011, but two years later, the province’s high court ordered a second trial, which was held last year.

His lawyers had already asked the province’s top tribunal for a third trial, citing errors in law by Vincent on more than one occasion in his instructions to the jurors.

In a separate filing, Turcotte’s lawyers also suggested that in deciding on inadmissibility, the judge did not give proper weight to Turcotte’s mental state at the time of the slayings.

Among other arguments, they also argue Vincent ignored jurisprudence that states forbidding parole eligibility until past the 15-year mark is only justified when the accused is considered a danger to society.

Prosecutor Rene Verret told reporters Tuesday the appeal might be heard later this year or early 2017.

“First the lawyers will have to produce their submissions,” Verret said. “Both appeals will be heard at the same time by the same three judges.”

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

The Red Deer College Queens hosted the Olds College Broncos at the… Continue reading

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

‘Stupid’ law preventing Canada’s re-engagement with Iran: retired envoy

OTTAWA — The real reason the Liberal government hasn’t been able to… Continue reading

Voters head to polls for BC municipal elections today

VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia will head to the polls today… Continue reading

All sharks tagged in N.S. expedition can now be tracked on Ocearch website

HALIFAX — All six of the sharks tagged in Nova Scotian waters… Continue reading

Memorial service for former PQ minister Lise Payette today in Montreal

MONTREAL — Mourners will gather to remember former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister… Continue reading

Immunotherapy scores a first win against some breast cancers

For the first time, one of the new immunotherapy drugs has shown… Continue reading

‘Mom I’m in trouble:’ Canadian, Brit face 10 years in jail for alleged graffiti

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — The mother of a Canadian who was arrested… Continue reading

Coyote on the prowl near Penhold

This coyote was out on the prowl in a field just west… Continue reading

Most Read