05/09/2012 03:11 EDT | Updated 07/09/2012 05:12 EDT

Retired Quebec judge fought with wife before her death, court hears

A retired Quebec judge accused of killing his ill wife asked an ambulance team not to bother trying to revive her because that is what she would have wanted, his high-profile murder trial heard Wednesday.

Jacques Delisle, a former Court of Appeal judge, is accused of shooting his wife Nicole Rainville, 71, in the head with a revolver on Nov. 12, 2009.

Delisle, who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, maintains that his wife committed suicide.

In Wednesday's testimony, the police officer who responded to the 911 call said the retired judge asked that his wife's wish to die be respected and that no resuscitation attempt be made.

Rainville had suffered a stroke two years earlier that left her partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.

"He warned the ambulance workers not to work on his wife because these were her last wishes," said Jean-François Bégin, a Quebec City police officer.

Testifying to a packed court, Bégin said Delisle appeared calm when authorities arrived at the apartment, shortly after the retired judge called 911 and told the operator his wife had shot herself.

Classical music was playing as police discovered Rainville's body on the couch, Bégin said, with a visible wound on her temple.

He told the court he checked for a pulse but could not find one.

Death initially deemed suicide

Rainville's death was initially deemed a suicide — but seven months later police arrested the former Quebec Superior Court judge, and charged him first-degree murder.

Delisle was appointed to the Quebec Superior Court in 1983 and sat on the Court of Appeal for 15 years. He left the bench six months before Rainville’s death.

During the Crown's opening arguments, the court heard Delisle, now 75, was living a double life and seeing his former secretary at the time Rainville was found dead.

The Crown alleges the couple's life changed significantly after Rainville suffered the stroke, and she had spent much of the last months of her life in the hospital recovering from a broken hip.

That, according to the Crown, contributed to the motive for the murder.

The prosecutor said ballistics evidence also proves Rainville did not shoot herself as Delisle has claimed.

Delisle's murder trial is believed to be the first murder trial for a member of the judiciary in Canada.

Couple quarreled morning of Rainville's death

Bégin testified that Delisle told police he had fought with his wife just hours before her death, after which he left his home to run an errand. When he returned, he said, his wife was dead.

Police drove the retired judge to the hospital after his wife's body was taken from the home and Bégin told the court he overheard Delisle breaking the news to the couple’s daughter on the phone.

The constable said Delisle looked nervous and had difficulty finding words. He eventually told her that Rainville had killed herself.

The trial, which began this week, is expected to last four weeks.

On the first day of the trial, the court heard that Delisle had a mistress with whom he had expressed some desire to start a life.

There was also a police statement that gun-powder residue found in Rainville's hand was located deep in the palm, a strange location for someone who had used the gun on herself.