When the Quebec Court of Appeal ordered a new trial in the notorious case of Guy Turcotte, the former cardiologist who was found not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder in the 2009 stabbing deaths of his two young children, it took the exceptional step of overturning a verdict largely based on a ruling that was not yet rendered by the nation’s highest court, note legal experts.

The Quebec Court of Appeal, relying on guidance provided by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Bouchard-Lebrun, 2011 SCC 58, [2011] 3 SCR 575 issued five months after Turcotte’s murder trial, held that Quebec Superior Court Justice Marc David’s  instructions to the jury were “deficient, which necessarily had a major impact on the verdict.”

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