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

One person dies in hospital after house fire erupts in Calgary

CALGARY — The Calgary Fire Department says a person has died in… Continue reading

Festival of Trees volunteers honoured at breakfast

This year’s Festival of Trees was able to provide the Red Deer… Continue reading

Two Red Deer filmmakers are finalists in web-series contest

Angel Peterson and Jason Steele are each creating pilot episodes with $20,000 prize

Sexual predator preyed on his own young daughter and niece

Eckville man sexually assaulted numerous children as young as two for nearly a decade

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

OTTAWA — Signs began to emerge Friday that the coming race to… Continue reading

Drug bust: Red Deer RCMP seize drugs, cash, vehicles

Criminals are getting creative. Red Deer RCMP have seized cash and vehicles… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Thursday Join us at the Senior Center Downtown House (5414 43 St.… Continue reading

Tiger Woods caps comeback year by leading emotional team win

MELBOURNE, Australia — The emotions poured out of Tiger Woods, just like… Continue reading

Carriers’ new financing plans offered as way to ease the cost of smartphones

TORONTO — The weeks before Christmas 2017 were especially frenzied for Canada’s… Continue reading

Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

TORONTO — Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world… Continue reading

Mexico disputes language in US bill on ratifying trade pact

MEXICO CITY — Just days after a landmark agreement on a trade… Continue reading

Tax advantage was better in Canada even after Trump cuts, Finance document says

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Bill Morneau was told months before he gave… Continue reading

Nova Scotia communities await decision on contentious pulp mill pipeline proposal

HALIFAX — For pipefitter Ben Chisholm, an imminent decision on the future… Continue reading

Rebels head into break with win over Swift Current

Red Deer has five wins in the last 7

Most Read