August 3, 2020 18h51
Updated at 19h04
A new trial for a woman accused of murdering her husband in the Gaspé
A woman of the Gaspé peninsula, Johanne Johnson, found guilty of murder not premeditated of her husband James Dubé, will be entitled to a second trial. The Court of appeal considers that the judge of the first trial erred in giving the jury the statement of a witness is important.
Johanne Johnson, 58 years old, was convicted in April 2016 of the murder committed 18 years earlier.
On April 30, 1998, the lobster fisherman James Dube has been shot dead by a bullet of rifle calibre 22 to the head while he was taking a nap on the living room couch in his home in Grande-Rivière, in the area of Percé.
Johanne Johnson was arrested only in 2013, after an undercover operation-type “Mister Big”. The lady had confessed to the murder of her husband at the head of this fake criminal organization, personified by a police officer.
She has been accused of a murder committed with premeditation.
At trial, she was said to have confessed to a murder she had not done because she feared for her safety. The accused also said to have been beaten during several years by James Dubé.
Sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 11 years, she has appealed the verdict.
A lack of directive
The highest court in Quebec has just given reason and order a new trial on a specific point.
The superior Court judge who heard the trial had committed an error, say the judges, in the presentation to the jury of the statement of the daughter of the accused.
Jackie Dubé, a witness crucial to the prosecution, had read during the trial observations on the behavior of his mother and recounted a confession made by Johanne Johnson after the arrest.
According to the Court of appeal, it would have been necessary that the judge justifies the admissibility in evidence of the notes of the girl and gives the jury precise instructions. “Combined, these two errors outweighs the risk of prejudice obviously, writing the Court of appeal. Their cumulative effect is far from being a minor and its influence on the deliberations of the jury is incalculable. Without these errors, it is not possible to conclude with certainty that the evidence presented against the accused was so overwhelming that it would have been impossible to render a different verdict.”