More than six years after the death of Clemence Beaulieu-Patrey, who was stabbed in front of customers in a Montreal supermarket, it all has to be done again. The Quebec Court of Appeal on Monday ordered a new trial for Randy Shilumba because of the judge’s “inadequate” instructions.
“Only a court can find that instructions given only verbally to the jury were unnecessarily long, unnecessarily complicated, but above all manifestly contradictory and prejudicial to appellant’s position,” the state’s highest court ruled.
Five years ago, a jury found Randy Schilumba guilty of the first-degree murder of 20-year-old Clemence Beaulieu-Patri. The young man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years. The jury rejected his argument that he was not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder and accepted the Crown’s preemption theory.
At a Maxi supermarket in the Saint-Michel district, Randy Tshilumba stabbed Clemence Beaulieu-Patry, a former classmate, multiple times. He then spent the night hiding in the restrooms of Tim Hortons. At trial, the defendant maintained that he believed at the time that the victim and four of her best friends had been trying to kill him for months – which was not true. The defense pleaded “delirium” caused by a “diseased brain”.
The Court of Appeal specifically criticized Superior Court Judge Helen Di Salvo for making errors in her instructions to the jury at the end of the trial. These instructions are in principle intended to “clarify and simplify” the work of the arbitrator. However, the judge’s comments were too long and confusing for the jurors.
Furthermore, Judge De Salvo erred in holding that the defendant’s conduct after the murder, except as evidence, had no merit in determining his guilt. The Court of Appeal said this had the effect of “confounding the fundamental issue of the trial”, namely taking into account the mental disorders of the accused.
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