Final arguments set to begin at Turcotte murder trial in Quebec

Final arguments set to begin at Turcotte murder trial in Quebec

Main pic: Guy Turcotte arrives at the Saint Jerome courthouse in Saint Jerome, Que., Monday, September 14, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes.

Turcotte’s lawyer asks jurors to judge accused as they’d want to be
November-17-15 5:48 PM

SAINT-JEROME, Que. — Guy Turcotte’s lawyer has asked the jurors tasked with determining his client’s fate to judge him as they would like themselves or their own relatives to be.

Pierre Poupart told the jury Tuesday that Turcotte, who is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the slayings of his son Olivier, 5, and Anne-Sophie, 3, benefits from the presumption of innocence.

As he began his closing arguments, Poupart told the 11 jurors to guard against oversimplifying the facts and suggested not to take everything as black or white.

The ex-doctor has admitted to causing the children’s deaths, but his lawyers argue the 43-year-old should be found not criminally responsible by way of mental disorder.

The accused testified at the trial he drank windshield washer fluid on Feb. 20, 2009, in order to kill himself and decided to murder his children to spare them the pain of finding his body.

Poupart reminded jurors that the burden of proof with regard to Turcotte’s possible guilt rests solely on the shoulders the Crown.

On the question of mental disorder, the veteran lawyer told them the defence would only have to demonstrate it was more likely than not that Turcotte was in such a state the night of the slayings.

The jurors heard from a total of 42 witnesses, including several experts, after the trial began in late September.

Defence experts testified earlier that Turcotte was suffering from an adjustment disorder and was exhibiting signs of anxiety and depression.

They said at varying points in the testimony that Turcotte was in an acute suicidal state and suffering from a major mental illness that prevented him from developing an intent to kill or to realize what he was doing was wrong.

But the Crown’s rebuttal witnesses testified a person suffering from an adjustment disorder doesn’t lose contact with reality or a sense of responsibility for his or her actions.

The final arguments will be presented over the next few days, with Poupart to be followed by the Crown.

The Canadian Press

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