Lise Thibault's Appeal For Lighter Sentence Rejected By Quebec's Top Court

Posted: Updated:
Lise Thibault was sentenced last fall to 18 months in jail for fraud and breach of trust. | Agence QMI

Quebec's top court has rejected an appeal by ex-lieutenant-governor Lise Thibault for a lighter sentence on her fraud conviction.

Thibault, 76, was sentenced last fall to 18 months in jail for fraud and breach of trust.

Her lawyer argued she should be allowed to serve the time in the community, while the Crown wanted permission to appeal the sentence to have it extended to four years.

The Quebec Court of Appeal rejected both arguments on Wednesday.

More than $700,000 in improper expenses

Thibault pleaded guilty in December 2014 after a 2007 report by the federal and provincial auditors general revealed she claimed more than $700,000 in improper expenses when she held the vice-regal post.

Her lawyer, Marc Labelle, argued that Quebec court Judge Carol St-Cyr should not have put the emphasis on making an example of Thibault strictly because of her position as the Queen's representative in the province between 1997 and 2007.

"The judge committed two principal errors: He gave too much importance to the deterrent aspect of the sentence and, secondly, he applied a section of the Criminal Code that did not exist at the time of the commission of the offence,'' Labelle said earlier this month.

He said the section in question specified that mitigating factors should not be considered in cases like Thibault's.

Labelle added that the judge should have taken into greater consideration how much negative media attention his client received before and during her trial.

'Highly reprehensible'

Prosecutor Marcel Guimont argued Thibault should be given a four-year jail term due to the severity of the offences and the degree of premeditation.

Thibault used the money on family activities, parties, a trip to a sugar shack and golf and ski outings.

She spent six nights in prison after being sentenced but was then freed.

St-Cyr called her behaviour "highly reprehensible'' and part of a "culture of deceit.'' Thibault was also ordered to pay back $300,000.