Former Quebec doctor who killed his children to be released

The former Quebec cardiologist who was found not criminally responsible for killing his children was granted conditional release.

A re-evaluation session was held today at Montreal's Pinel Institute. The Mental Health Assessment Commission said Guy Turcotte has made enough progress to be released.

He will, however, continue to see a psychotherapist.

He was found not criminally responsible 18 months ago for killing his two children in 2009.

Turcotte must not have contact with his former wife, Isabelle Gaston, or her family.

Unless Turcotte fails to keep the peace and adhere to his conditions, his case will not be reviewed for another year.

Turcotte will need to have his new address approved by authorities.

Gaston said she felt "powerless" when facing the justice system in this case.

"The system knows this is an injustice, but the system decides not to speak. So I lose confidence in it," she said.

Gaston said she had read Supreme Court documents of similar cases and expected Turcotte to be released without conditions. She said today's decision was "more logical."

She believes he should be kept at the Pinel Institute because of the closer supervision.

She said she would keep fighting to make improvements to the way such cases are handled.

"I hope so much for those changes because for me, it's a message that you can kill your wife because you're sad, you can kill your children because you are upset, and after that say that you were not all there," she said.

In a report summarizing his findings, Pierre Rochette, the psychiatrist overseeing Turcotte's care at the institute, told the Mental Health Assessment Commission that the patient has shown progress in his treatment.

The commission, a division of Quebec's administrative tribunal, is in charge of reviewing the mental state of those found not criminally responsible of a crime and decide whether the person poses a risk to public safety.

Rochette said that Turcotte is less defensive than when he first arrived at the institution.

The psychiatrist made several recommendations to the commission, including the possibility that the patient be released into the care of outpatient services at a Montreal hospital, rather than remain detained at the Pinel Institute.

Turcotte told the hearing that his anger and anxiety are under control and he would like to live a normal life.

Rochette said earlier today he would not object to the release of Turcotte with conditions attached.

In July 2011, a jury found Turcotte, who admitted to stabbing his two children to death, not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder.

The judge had instructed jurors that acquittal was not an option, as Turcotte admitted he stabbed his children, Anne-Sophie, 3, and Olivier, 5, in February 2009, in a rented home north of Montreal.

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