Convicted killer should be able to ask for parole sooner, jury decides

Jean-Guy Lambert, 76, is serving a life sentence for his role in a 1997 shooting that left one man dead and another wounded.

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Jean-Guy Lambert, who was convicted in 2006 of committing murder for hire in St-Laurent, may apply for parole sooner than expected after a Montreal court jury agreed to his request on Wednesday.

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The 76-year-old is serving a life sentence for the first-degree murder of Robert Fattouch, 27, and the attempted murder of Fattouch’s older brother Elias. On May 5, 1997, victims were shot inside the parking lot of an apartment building. Lambert was arrested and charged with the crimes six years later.

During his 2006 trial, Lambert was accused of being the shooter in the shooting. When he was found guilty of first-degree murder, he was automatically given a life sentence with a period of parole ineligibility set at 25 years.

Last week, Lambert testified and told the jury in his weak hope clause that he was not the shooter, but said he took the shooter to the building with full knowledge of what was going to happen. He also said he has suffered four heart attacks since he started serving his sentence, contracted COVID-19 and was diagnosed with cancer.

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His request to shorten the period of probation ineligibility was based on a section of the Penal Code that was repealed in 2011. Offenders who were convicted before the revocation can still request a hearing.

On Wednesday, the jury ruled that Lambert should seek parole immediately after serving 18 years behind bars.

“We can never know what a jury was thinking, but I believe that, on the whole, they were convinced that Lambert does not pose a threat to society,” said Sandra Brouillette, a lawyer who represented Lambert, referring to how the jury’s deliberations in Canada are secret. “I don’t know if Mr. Lambert was a factor in his decision, but he may have better access to treatment (for cancer) from the outside.”

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Brouillette said the jury was unanimous in its decision that Lambert can seek early parole, and 11 of the 12 jurors agreed that he should request a parole hearing immediately. She also said Lambert will ask the Parole Board of Canada for permission to take escorted licenses before asking for parole.

Escort licenses are considered the first step towards the release of offenders serving a life sentence in Canada.

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