Canada's top court denies immunity for Queen's rep

23rd May 2013, Comments 0 comments

Canada's high court Thursday turned down a bid to quash fraud charges against a former Quebec lieutenant governor who claimed immunity as an agent of Queen Elizabeth II, Canada's titular head of state.

Lise Thibault, who was lieutenant governor of the Canadian province from 1997 to 2007, was charged in 2009 with abuse of trust, forgery, uttering a forged document and fraud.

She sought to have the charges set aside, arguing that a Quebec judge in committing her for trial exceeded his jurisdiction, because "she was the representative of the Queen of England in Quebec and as such was not subject to the criminal justice system, in light of the principle that 'the King can do no wrong,'" said court documents.

Lower courts denied her motion, saying that in fact she "did not enjoy absolute immunity," but rather it "attached to the performance of her functions" as lieutenant governor and the scope should be determined at trial.

As is typical, the Supreme Court did not explain its refusal to hear Thibault's appeal.

The charges stem from Can$700,000 (US$680,000) in claimed travel, meal and other expenses during her 10-year term as lieutenant governor of Quebec.

A trial has been set for April 2014.

© 2013 AFP

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