A retired Quebec judge convicted of first-degree murder in the 2009 death of his wife, Marie Nicole Rainville, will have a chance to argue his innocence.
Federal Justice Minister David Lametti has ordered a new trial at Quebec Superior Court for Jacques Delisle, now 85.
“Promoting a fair and impartial criminal justice system that respects the needs of victims while protecting against potential miscarriages of justice is crucial to furthering Canadians’ confidence in our justice system,” Lametti said in a press release issued Wednesday afternoon.
“Following a thorough review, and the identification of new information, I am satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to conclude that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred in Mr. Delisle’s case and that there should be a new trial.”
Since Delisle’s conviction in 2012, he has continued to insist he is innocent.
Rainville died from a gunshot to the head. At trial, forensic experts offered differing testimony of whether she could have fired the gun herself, or whether it was fired by another person.
Delisle’s requests for appeal were denied, leaving the incarcerated man with the last-ditch option to appeal directly to the justice minister, which he did in 2015.
In a rare prison interview that year, the retired judge told The Fifth Estate that his wife had died by suicide, after telling him her intentions. He said a stroke and serious fall had left her seriously disabled and depressed.
“I’m telling the truth, really, it’s as simple as that,” Delisle told The Fifth Estate’s Mark Kelley. “There are innocent persons in prisons. You have one in front of you.”
A joint Fifth Estate/Radio-Canada investigation also uncovered new expert ballistics analysis that supported Delisle’s version of events and, legal experts said, raised reasonable doubt.
Delisle is represented by James Lockyer, a prominent Toronto barrister who founded Innocence Canada and has been responsible for exonerating numerous Canadians.
He is expected to apply for bail Thursday morning in Quebec City.
WATCH | The Fifth Estate’s Murder and the Judge