The impact of Alzheimer’s disease on the family was at the heart of the process of jury selection, Monday, for the trial of a Montreal accused of the murder of his wife, suffering from this disease at an advanced stage.
Michel Cadotte, age 57, is accused of second-degree murder of Jocelyn Lizotte. Ms. Lizotte, aged 60 years, was found dead in his establishment of the long-term care Montréal, February 20, 2017. Michel Cadotte had already pleaded not guilty.
On the first day of the jury selection process, many candidates have said that they could not be impartial in this case, taking into account their own experiences as family members of people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.
The judge Hélène Di Salvo, of the superior Court, was first reported to the candidate jurors that the trial is expected to last between six and seven weeks, ending in early march.
We posed to the candidates for jurors a series of questions on the media coverage of the case, and if they had followed. The judge Di Salvo then explained that it would take for medical help to die, Alzheimer’s disease, and murder the so-called “compassion”. She asked the candidates if they had any preconceived ideas about these topics – and if yes : could they put aside and judge the case based solely on the evidence presented at trial?
Before selecting jurors, the judge had heard the candidates that were seeking exemptions. In addition to the grounds of the usual family, work or health, several candidates have declared that they could not carry out this task because of their own experience with a person with Alzheimer’s disease.
A lady explained that her mother had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and that until her death, she had no quality of life. “I am not interested in condemning someone else.”
Another woman was granted an exemption because she is a single mother, but she still added that her grandmother had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. She has termed “outrageous” the charge against Mr. Cadotte, stating that she would have been able to ask the same thing.
Jury selection was completed late Monday and testimony is expected to begin as early as Tuesday. The Crown intends to call 18 witnesses, including two doctors.