Canadian Judge Rejects Lise Thibault's Royal Privilege Argument

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LISE THIBAULT FRAUD
An attempt to invoke royal privilege in a Canadian courtroom was rejected by a judge Monday. (AP) | AP

QUEBEC - An attempt to invoke royal privilege in a Canadian courtroom was rejected by a judge Monday.

Quebec Superior Court dismissed arguments that the province's former lieutenant-governor should be granted immunity from fraud charges.

Marc Labelle, the lawyer for Lise Thibault, had argued that his client should benefit from sovereign immunity, because the Crown's prosecution cannot prosecute the Crown.

Superior Court disagreed and said Thibault's trial will proceed on Sept. 10.

Thibault, who served as the lieutenant-governor from 1997 to 2007, has pleaded not guilty to two counts each of breach of trust, fraud and creating false or counterfeit documents.

The auditor-generals of Quebec and Canada concluded in a joint report in 2007 that Thibault was reimbursed for $700,000 in expenses that were not related to her mandate.

Labelle's novel argument was based on the principle that the Queen can do no wrong, which dates back to the Middle Ages.

It raised the idea of whether the Crown could be prosecuted by the institutions it helped to create, and whether it was actually appropriate for a democratic institution to punish a figure who is constitutionally mandated to keep it in check and prevent abuses.

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