CALGARY, Alberta-It could be considered Canada's answer to the O.J. Simpson trial-a high profile court case involving a prominent socialite, a powerful oil executive, and a troubled marriage rife with alcoholism and abuse that culminated in a horrific crime. Earl Joudrie, chairman of Canadian Tire Corp., Gulf Canada Resources Ltd. and Algoma Steel Ltd., was shot six times by his estranged wife, Dorothy, on Jan. 21, 1995, in her Calgary condominium.
Mr. Joudrie reportedly had been discussing final divorce details over coffee with his wife, from whom he separated in 1989.
Mrs. Joudrie, 61, was charged with attempted murder in Court of Queens Bench in Calgary and a sensational two-week trial ensued in which the court heard allegations of Mrs. Joudrie's alcoholism and her husband's abuse of her.
After 18 hours of deliberation, a jury decided May 9 she committed the act, but was not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.
The prosecutor's office said Mrs. Joudrie will be assessed at a mental hospital, after which a board of review will decide whether she should remain free or undergo treatment. The prosecution has 30 days after the trial to appeal the jury verdict, a spokeswoman said.
Prosecutors had argued that Mrs. Joudrie, upset over losing her social status as the wife of a powerful executive, intended to shoot her husband. But the defense claimed Mrs. Joudrie was in a dissociated, robot-like state at the time of the shooting and did not know what she was doing.
Meanwhile, Mr. Joudrie, 62, who has four slugs in his body and suffers several side affects, asked not to be reappointed Canadian Tire chairman and is taking a leave of absence ``for personal reasons,'' the Toronto-based retailer announced.