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Fraud trial of ex-Quebec lieutenant-governor Lise Thibault to resume Oct. 2

Former Quebec lieutenant governor Lise Thibault leaves a courtroom, Monday July 28, 2014 in Quebec City. The fraud trial of Thibault will resume Oct. 2. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Clement Allard

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Former Quebec lieutenant governor Lise Thibault leaves a courtroom, Monday July 28, 2014 in Quebec City. The fraud trial of Thibault will resume Oct. 2. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Clement Allard

QUEBEC - The fraud trial of former Quebec lieutenant-governor Lise Thibault will resume Oct. 2.

Lawyers agreed on the date in a brief court appearance in Quebec City on Tuesday.

Thibault's trial was interrupted at the beginning of August after she suffered an epileptic seizure.

She is on trial after being charged with fraud and breach of trust in connection with more than $700,000 in alleged improper expenses.

The money was allegedly spent on gifts, trips, parties, meals and skiing and golf lessons.

Thibault, 75, held the provincial vice-regal post between 1997 and 2007.

The charges were laid after a joint report filed by former provincial auditor general Renaud Lachance and his federal counterpart at the time, Sheila Fraser.

Thibault's lawyers tried repeatedly to have the case tossed out by arguing that, as the Crown's highest representative in Quebec, she could not be prosecuted by herself.

Trial judge Carol St-Cyr rejected a defence motion in late July that argued the case should be dismissed because of royal immunity.

In his ruling, St-Cyr said that because all the evidence had not been heard during the trial, he could not grant Thibault's request to halt proceedings.

The judge also wrote that, according to constitutional law, the lieutenant-governor does not enjoy the same benefits as the Queen.

St-Cyr added that immunity applies only to actions that involve official state functions, not personal ones.

In another petition, Thibault argued she was not a civil servant and could not therefore be charged with breaching the trust of the federal and Quebec governments.

But the judge concluded that Thibault was indeed a public servant because she was appointed to fill a public position.

St-Cyr pointed out that under the Constitution, the lieutenant-governor is a civil servant, adding such an affirmation is even posted on the lieutenant-governor's website.

The Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear Thibault's case in May 2013.

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