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Child killer Turcotte's fate in hands of review board

03/16/2012 07:01 EDT | Updated 05/16/2012 05:12 EDT

The fate of former cardiologist Guy Turcotte is now in the hands of a mental health review board after hearings concluded at the Pinel Institute in Montreal.

The five-member panel heard final arguments Friday from lawyers representing Turcotte, the Pinel Institute, and the Crown. Their statements followed the testimony of three doctors Thursday who had studied Turcotte's psychological state in recent months.

On Friday, Turcotte's defence lawyers urged the board not to give in to public pressure to keep the 39-year-old at the psychiatric hospital. They argued Turcotte should be allowed to resume a normal life after a psychiatrist brought forward by the defence Thursday said Turcotte showed no signs of mental illness and was not a danger to society.

Turcotte admitted he stabbed his children, Anne-Sophie, 3, and Olivier, 5, in February 2009 in a rented home north of Montreal. He was charged with first-degree murder, but denied intent, claiming he was deeply distraught about the collapse of his marriage.

In 2011, a jury decided Turcotte was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the killings, and found him not criminally responsible.

He has been at the Pinel Institute in Montreal's East End since the verdict, and following the conclusion of this week's hearings, the review board will now decide whether Turcotte will be set free.

Turcotte still a risk: Crown

Crown lawyers as well as one representing the Pinel Institute argued Friday that Turcotte had not completed enough therapy to be deemed fit for release.

The Crown said that although his mental illness had been treated, the rage which played a part in the killings has not been dealt with significantly, presenting a risk for society. The Crown argued that Turcotte's estranged wife, Isabelle Gaston, had to change the locks on her house out of fear during the couple's separation, and still lives in fear of Turcotte.

Suzanne Courchesne, a lawyer representing the Pinel Institute, said Turcotte did not receive enough treatment to be able to reintegrate into society, and argued that the experts brought forward by the defence were minimizing the importance of anger and vengeance in the killings.

The Crown is asking that Turcotte remain at the institute for at least another year, a recommendation also made by another psychiatrist who testified Thursday.

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