POLITICS

Canadian Judge Rejects Lise Thibault's Royal Privilege Argument

08/27/2012 06:44 EDT | Updated 10/27/2012 05:12 EDT
AP
In this Oct. 30, 2008 photo, former Quebec Lt. Governor Lise Thibault leaves the Quebec legislature. The Crown's former representative in Quebec is going to trial on fraud charges. Thibault was ordered to stand trial by the court in a decision handed down Tuesday, May 1, 2012 in Quebec City. The Queen's former Quebec representative will return to court on May 28 to set a date for her jury trial. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Jacques Boissinot )
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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