Political Trials and Felquistes Defendants: Defending the Front de Libération du Québec (FLQ) in the Courtroom

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Pacione, Darren




Anchored in trial-related archival material and written French-language accounts of high-profile Front de Libération du Québec (FLQ) trials and their defendants, this project considers the performative dimension of political trials. To this end, this study examines how the FLQ defendants and their representatives navigated their legal encounters. FLQ defendants' deployment of political defence strategies through their active period (1963-1972) is further grounded in the historical context of the legal regime through which they navigated, recent debates about contemporary political trials, and broader debates about the politicization of approaches to legal representation. Through three case studies: (1) The LaGrenade Affair (the manslaughter trials of the Vallières-Gagnon Network), (2) the Trial of the Montréal Five (a seditious conspiracy prosecution), and (3) the FLQ contempt of court trials, I argue that the politicized legal defence strategies of the FLQ defendants emerged relative to shifting ideological commitments and growing legal pressures from the state. Through consideration of how FLQ defendants utilized legal procedures and arguments, political histories, and the rule of law narratives, new insights are gained into the confrontations between the accused, Crown, and the Québec bench within the high-stakes context of the pre- and post-1970 October Crisis FLQ trials.


Canadian History
Canadian Studies




Carleton University

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Legal Studies

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Theses and Dissertations

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