Unable to consult fully with lawyer, Gatineau murder suspect will have new trial

An in-person visit with his lawyer did not take place and the suspect provided police with information that incriminated him.

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The Supreme Court of Canada has ordered a new trial for a Gatineau man found guilty of the second-degree murder of 64-year-old Diane Lahaie after the court found his right to consult with his lawyer had been violated.

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The court’s decision, made public Friday, was unanimous.

Gatineau resident Patrick Dussault was found guilty in 2016 of the murder. Lahaie was killed and her home de ella set on fire in 2013. Dussault was a handyman she had hired, according to news reports at the time.

Dussault wanted the evidence used against him in Superior Court to be rejected on the ground police had obtained the information without his being able to complete discussions with his lawyer.

Dussault had been able to speak with his lawyer by telephone from the police station. But the lawyer wanted to visit his client in person because he was unsure Dussault had completely understood what was said during their conversation.

The in-person visit did not take place and Dussault provided police with information that incriminated him.

The Superior Court justice hearing the case refused to reject the evidence and a jury found Dussault guilty. However, the Quebec Court of Appeal agreed with Dussault’s argument and overturned to the verdict, ordering a new trial.

The Supreme Court upheld that ruling, which found that Dussault’s right to consult a lawyer, protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, had been violated.

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