Cassock and the Crown

Cassock and the Crown: Canada's Most Controversial Murder Trial

Jean Monet
Copyright Date: 1996
Pages: 193
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt8021z
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  • Book Info
    Cassock and the Crown
    Book Description:

    On 7 January 1922 Raoul Delorme's body was discovered in a Montreal suburb. He had been shot six times at close range. The victim's half-brother, Father Adélard Delorme, quickly became the prime suspect as circumstantial evidence pointed directly to him. In one of the first uses of ballistics, police matched the bullets used in the murder to a gun he had purchased only days before the murder, there were human bloodstains in his car, and the victim's body was wrapped in a quilt that matched others found at the Delorme house. Father Delorme had also recently taken out a life insurance policy on his brother, naming himself as beneficiary, and stood to inherit most of the family's estate under Raoul's will. The Roman Catholic church, however, was an extremely powerful institution in Quebec in the 1920s. Four trials took place before a verdict was reached -- a verdict that still leaves many questions unanswered.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6596-8
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Jean Monet
  4. FOREWORD: Locus in Quo
    (pp. xiii-xvii)
    Jacques Monet

    It does seem strange that a murder mystery that so captured the public imagination in its own time – a story so crowded with eccentric characters and odd behaviour, so thick with complicated plots, curious coincidences, and unexpected turns, so rich in courtroom drama, sinister undertones, and violence bred on bigotry and greed – should have gone unexamined for so long. One would think that by nowl’affaire Delormewould have become a solid part of the anthologies of the western world’s great unsolved criminal investigations. Instead, it remains almost unknown. This is unfortunate, for the case offers an intriguing look at...

  5. Illustrations
    (pp. xviii-2)
  6. DECEMBER 1921: Home for Christmas
    (pp. 3-5)

    Neither the rhythm of the steel wheels rushing beneath him nor the beauty of the frozen rural scenes flying past his window could disturb Raoul Delorme’s thoughts. This was his last Christmas break from the University of Ottawa. After his upcoming graduation he would be finished with school and free to manage his inheritance. He thought about the events of the last few years: his father’s death in 1916, his half-brother Adélard’s devotion to him and to his sisters and his dedication to managing Raoul’s properties. He thought of how Adélard, Monsieur I’Abbé Delorme outside the family home, had obtained...

  7. EPIPHANY 1922: A Body on Ice
    (pp. 6-6)

    Like almost all French Canadians, on the morning of Friday, 6 January 1922, Euzèbe Larin went to Mass to celebrate Epiphany. “Les Rois,” as it was commonly known in Quebec, marked the end of the Christmas religious holidays and their customary family gatherings. The next important date was Easter. Until then there was nothing to look forward to but a long hard winter and the demands of the forty-day fasting period during Lent. It was no wonder that Euzèbe was enthusiastically involved in the Larin family celebration and the traditional selection of the king and queen who would preside over...

  8. The Investigation
    (pp. 7-50)

    At 11 A.M. on 7 January, Sergeant Detective Théodule Pigeon and Constable Joseph Desgroseillers rang the doorbell at 190 St Hubert Street. To their surprise, a man in a black cassock – Adélard Delorme – came to the door. When asked if this was the residence of Raoul Delorme, he answered nervously, “Yes, Raoul is my brother. Has anything happened to him? Is he in trouble? He didn’t come home last night.” Pigeon replied that a body carrying Raoul’s identity card had been found early that morning and asked the priest to accompany them to the morgue for the necessary identification. “Give...

  9. A Question of Sanity
    (pp. 51-84)

    The 1922 summer term of the King’s Bench opened on Thursday, 1 June, with the Honourable Dominique Monet presiding.* A stern man who didn’t take fools lightly, Monet was highly respected for his integrity and solid judicial thinking. At the age of twenty-six he had been elected to the House of Commons as member from Napierville in his friend Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s government, where he had made his mark as a brilliant orator. Never reluctant to fight openly for his beliefs, no matter how controversial, he resigned from the House of Commons in 1899 in protest against Canada’s participation in...

  10. The Evidence
    (pp. 85-116)

    On 11 June 1923 Delorme appeared before the associate chief justice of the King’s Bench, G.E. Martin, to have his trial fixed. The defence had been joined by a new counsel. Next to Alleyn Taschereau sat the distinguished Charles Hazlett Cahan, KC.* Such a distinguished Anglo-Saxon Protestant coming to the defence of Delorme would certainly impress the jury which, it was anticipated, would include members of Montreal’s English Protestant community,ɫ Widespread media criticism of the Catholic jury’s “shameful favouritism” and “illogical” verdict at the insanity trial made this almost a foregone conclusion.

    A battle erupted when Delorme was asked how...

  11. The Art of Persuasion
    (pp. 117-132)

    It was now time for the lawyers’ pleas. The defence had called witnesses and would therefore begin.* Taschereau stood up. As a Quebec City lawyer, he felt his first remarks should be directed toward gaining the respect of the Montreal jury. There had always been a rivalry between the two cities, as indeed there is today. Montreal was Canada's metropolis and one of North America’s leading cities; residents of Quebec City fought off their inferiority complex by considering themselves somewhat above Montrealers as citizens of the first city in Canada and the seat of the provincial government. Taschereau broke the...

  12. Deja Vu
    (pp. 133-145)

    The courtroom was only half filled when the third trial got under way on 25 February 1924. This time the heading of the next morning’s story in TheGazetteheadline read “Absence of pomp marked opening of Delorme trial,” as it reported,

    With considerably less of the picturesque formality which featured the beginning of the last trial of Reverend Father Adélard Delorme, the second trial was opened yesterday morning in the Court of King’s Bench, Mr Justice Martineau presiding. If the first day was not so taken up with the decorous formalities as on the last occasion, it was more...

  13. The Verdict
    (pp. 146-150)

    The fourth trial started on Monday, 13 October 1924, presided over by the Honourable Auguste Maurice Tessier. There were no changes at the lawyers’ bar. Delorme had stayed with Alban Germain and Robert Calder continued for the Crown. The other familiar face was Gustave Monette, who once again was the first to rise with his ever present request for a hearing on insanity. Once again, it was denied.

    Germain demanded a totally French-speaking jury. His request was granted. As a result the available jury panel, which included many English-speaking Montrealers, was disqualified and Tessier adjourned until two o’clock to allow...

  14. Who Killed Raoul?
    (pp. 151-156)

    I am sure Adélard Delorme murdered his brother. The Crown could not produce any eyewitnesses, but its circumstantial evidence was overwhelming. The Bayard handgun and bullets bought a few days before the murder; the ballistics tests that matched the bullets found in Raoul’s head with the bullet fired from the accused’s Bayard; the matching quilts, soap, and blood in the car; the expert testimony about Delorme’s handwriting on the package; the testimony that his neighbours had heard his car running on the night of the murder; the tire marks leading into his garage; the unused overshoes – all pointed to him....

  15. Epilogue
    (pp. 157-160)

    Little is known of what happened to Delorme after his acquittal. He didn’t move back to 190 St Hubert. Instead, on orders from the Archdiocese, he moved into the Institute for the Deaf and Dumb at the corner of St Lawrence Boulevard and Jean-Talon Street. He arrived under the pseudonym of Lemay, the only name by which he was known within the institute’s walls. His routine was to start each day by saying Mass, then head to an office he had rented downtown, returning in the evening. The entries for January 1925 in the records of the institute read:

    January...