The Quebec Court of Appeal has just rejected the request of Sébastien Simon, imprisoned for murder, who wanted to be able to address a jury for early parole.
It’s more than a relief, it’s a great victory for Brigitte. exclaimed Darlene Ryan, Brigitte Serre’s mother-in-law.
Since 2006, Sébastien Simon has been serving a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years before any possibility of parole. In January of that same year, at the age of 18, he committed the worst crime: the indescribably violent murder of 17-year-old Brigitte Serre.
With two accomplices, Sébastien Simon robbed a gas station in the Saint-Léonard neighborhood of Montreal, where the victim worked. When he noticed that the young employee had managed to free herself from her restraints, he stabbed her 72 times.
He then fled to Edmonton, Alberta, where Montreal police finally arrested him a few days later.
Sébastien Simon pleaded guilty in 2007. Since the beginning of his detention, he has invested in rehabilitation programs and has made notable progress. Since 2022, he has even obtained the right to leave, accompanied by a prison officer, once a week for a period of 12 hours.
The Faint Hope Clause
Imprisoned for 17 years, Sébastien Simon should normally not be able to apply to the Parole Board of Canada until 2031, but since the crime he committed occurred before 2010, he can benefit from a clause then in force and called
weak hope clause.
This provision allows a person convicted of murder to go before a jury after serving at least 15 years of their sentence. However, in order to do so you must obtain permission from the High Court.
Sébastien Simon failed in this first step in December 2021, when Judge France Charbonneau rejected his request, considering that he was not yet ready to submit such a request. The decision also points out the risk of recidivism, which amounts to 76% in five years and 87% in 12 years. This risk seemed unacceptable to the court.
Sébastien Simon then turned to the Quebec Court of Appeal, which heard his arguments on Monday. In their ruling handed down on Friday morning, the three judges confirmed the decision handed down in 2021 by the High Court.
Darlene Ryan and her partner Bruno Serre, Brigitte’s father, know well that Sébastien Simon will be able to send a new application to the High Court (he will have to wait five years between the two applications), but in the meantime they will be able to have a little respite.