QUEBEC—After serving one-sixth of her sentence for fraud and breach of trust, former Quebec lieutenant-governor Lise Thibault was released from jail Thursday, according to documents from Quebec parole authorities.
She was granted parole under certain conditions including obeying the law and not interacting with anyone connected to her past criminal activities.
The documents state she must also “actively participate toward social integration.”
Thibault, 77, pleaded guilty in December 2014 after a 2007 report by the federal and provincial auditors general revealed she claimed more than $700,000 in improper expenses when she held the vice-regal post between 1997 and 2007.
The Quebec Court of Appeal rejected her attempt three months ago to be allowed to serve the 18-month jail term in the community.
She began serving the sentence in late February and was eligible for parole after three months.
Thibault’s trial heard the money was allegedly spent on gifts, trips, parties, meals and skiing and golf lessons.
Trial judge Carol St-Cyr called her behaviour “highly reprehensible” and part of a “culture of deceit.”
Quebec’s parole commission ruled she had a low risk of re-offending and judged her behaviour in prison “adequate.”
“Indeed, you did not have a disciplinary report,” the document stated. “Your participation in (jail) programs was limited to the use of the library and consultations with the jail chaplain.”
Thibault, who was also ordered to pay back $200,000 to the federal government and $100,000 to Quebec, testified she had little to show financially for her time as vice-regal _ a divorce ate into her savings and she said she was living on a $30,000 pension.
St-Cyr ruled against a pair of motions filed by her lawyer, Marc Labelle, who argued the case should have been dismissed because the accused benefited from royal immunity.
Labelle said that meant Thibault was not a civil servant and therefore could not face criminal charges.
The judge said constitutional law stipulates the
lieutenant-governor does not enjoy the same benefits as the Queen.
St-Cyr also noted that under the Constitution, the lieutenant-governor is a civil servant, adding such an affirmation was even posted on the lieutenant-governor’s website.