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Son testifies on behalf of father accused of killing wife

05/26/2012 11:45 EDT | Updated 07/26/2012 05:12 EDT

The son of a retired Quebec judge accused of killing his wife told a court Friday that he was relieved when his mother died, because she had been depressed and was suffering.

Jean Delisle testified as a defence witness in his father's first-degree murder trial, in a high-profile case believed to be the first of its kind in Canadian legal history.

Jacques Delisle, 77, is accused of shooting and killing his wife Nicole Rainville in 2009.

Rainville was recovering from a broken hip, after having suffered a debilitating stroke a few years before.

During emotional testimony on Friday, Jean Delisle described his father to the jury, calling him a strict but fair paternal figure.

The elderly judge was a thoughtful husband, Delisle said — who bought his wife flowers, took her on business trips, was respectful and loving "until the end."

Rainville's stroke turned their lives upside down, Delisle testified, as she suffered cognitive damage and was partially paralyzed.

His father had to learn to cook and clean, leaving Rainville to believe, according to her son, that she had become a burden to her husband.

It was Jean Delisle's sister who told him their mother had died, and he told the court he remembers saying "finally, mom, that's perfect," because he loved her and she was no longer suffering.

The Crown argues Jacques Delisle shot his wife in the head in November 2009 because he had grown tired of caring for her.

Among crown witnesses called to testify was Delisle's former mistress, Johanne Plamondon — a long-time colleague.

She testified their affair started a few months before Rainville's stroke in 2007.

Rainville's death was initially deemed a suicide. But her husband Jacques Delisle was arrested seven months after her death, and charged with first-degree murder.

It's not clear whether Delisle will testify in his own defence.

The trial continues in Quebec City next week.

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