SAINT-JEROME, Que. – A former Quebec doctor was arraigned Thursday on two charges of first-degree murder in the stabbing deaths of his two young children.
Guy Turcotte’s appearance came one day after Quebec’s highest court ordered a new trial and the accused surrendered to police.
Turcotte stabbed his five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter a total of 46 times one night in February 2009.
He was found not criminally responsible at his 2011 murder trial when a jury accepted his argument he could not recall the events and had experienced blackouts.
The case made Turcotte a household name in Quebec and the verdict provoked a torrent of outrage.
His case was one of several infamous court decisions that helped spur new federal legislation aimed at making it harder for those found not criminally responsible to gain their freedom.
On Thursday, Crown prosecutor Rene Verret said the next scheduled court appearance for Turcotte will be Jan. 10, when a date is set to be announced for the trial. There will be no preliminary hearing.
“Until then, he will be detained unless of course the defence presents a request before a Superior Court judge asking for a release,” Verret said outside the courtroom in Saint-Jerome, north of Montreal.
When asked whether he had been informed by the defence team that it would seek Turcotte’s release, all Verret would say was he had spoken with the ex-doctor’s lawyers.
“Of course we discuss a lot of things, but I don’t want to make public the discussions that we had together,” he said. ”It’s a rule between lawyers.”
Verret said he did not know when the trial would actually begin. He hoped it would be sometime in 2014.
The Crown prosecutor also said he has not recived any notice the defence might appeal Wednesday’s ruling to the Supreme Court.
Turcotte did not enter a plea Thursday. Verret said he was not obliged to.
Turcotte’s legal team did not speak with reporters outside the courtroom.
His ex-wife, Isabelle Gaston, was present in the courtroom. She did not speak to reporters outside the chamber.