Quebec doctor found not criminally responsible for kids' deaths back in court

MONTREAL – The case of a Quebec doctor who killed his young children is headed back to court today for a Crown appeal of a lower court verdict that found him not criminally responsible.

Guy Turcotte will appear in Quebec’s highest court as the Crown tries to have the judgment annulled and a new trial ordered.

During the highly publicized murder trial, Turcotte admitted to repeatedly stabbing his kids, three-year-old Anne-Sophie and five-year-old Olivier, but denied criminal intent.

He then tried to commit suicide on that night in February 2009.

The not-criminally-responsible verdict meant that Turcotte was unable to know, at the time, that he was doing something wrong.

The case helped spur new federal legislation aimed at making it harder for those found not criminally responsible to gain their freedom.

Turcotte was eventually deemed fit for release from a mental institution, where he’d stayed following a total of 46 months in custody.

The Crown believes the trial judge should never have offered the not-criminally-responsible option.

It also argues that the jury wasn’t properly instructed and that the judge did not sufficiently review the evidence with the jury.

The defence has rejected those arguments, contending that the Crown had plenty of time to interject before the jury retired to consider a verdict yet never raised any objections.

The defence says the court should reject the appeal, but if there is to be a new trial, it should be on the far-reduced charge of manslaughter.

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