Canada’s federal justice minister is ordering a new trial for Jacques Delisle, a former Quebec judge who was convicted in the first-degree murder of his wife in 2012.
The order from David Lametti follows an “extensive review” of the case, according to a statement issued Wednesday by the Department of Justice.
“The minister’s decision that there is a reasonable basis to conclude that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred is the result of the identification of new information that was not before the courts at the time of Mr. Delisle’s trial or appeal,” the statement reads.
Delisle, will have to stand a new trial in Quebec Superior Court in relation to the 2009 death of his wife, Nicole Rainville. He was convicted of first-degree murder in 2012 and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
“This is not a decision about the guilt or innocence of the applicant,” the justice department said. “Rather, the decision leads to the case being returned to the justice system, where the relevant legal issues may be determined by the courts according to the law.”
The former judge’s conviction was upheld on appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear his case.
Delisle has claimed he was wrongly convicted due to a judicial error.
James Lockyer, a lawyer with a non-profit that advocates for people wrongly convicted of crimes, said in a statement Wednesday he is confident new evidence will prove Delisle did not kill his wife.
Lockyer said Innocence Canada, which was called the Association In Defense of the Wrongly Convicted when it took on Delisle’s case in 2014, zeroed in on ballistics analysis from a gun found at the scene.
“In an application to the Department of Justice, Mr. Lockyer argued that proper reanalysis of the gun by independent ballistics experts would rule out the possibility that Mr. Delisle fired the weapon,” the statement said.
Lockyer noted that former Court of Appeal judge will turn 86 next month. “I never doubted Mr. Delisle’s innocence,” he said. “It is terrible that he has been in prison for nine years. I hope he will be back with his family in the next few days.”
— With files from The Canadian Press