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The Accused Speaks Out

As stipulated under the "Ordonnance criminelle" of 1670, Angélique was not present to hear the depositions of the witnesses; she was not aware of their accusations against her during their testimonies. As well, the king forbade the presence of lawyers in Nouvelle-France; Angélique had to defend herself, without help, against the public rumour.

During the confrontation process, the king’s prosecutor selected a number of witnesses he wished to confront with the accused in the hope that she would confess her crime. It was at this stage of the trial that Angélique saw the faces of those who had given testimony against her. The court clerk read the depositions in the presence of the witnesses and the accused and then recorded their accusations and denials.

Based on Angélique’s reaction, the prosecutor—not present during the confrontations, but given the transcripts by the judge—submitted new questions to the judge, who once again interrogated the accused, still behind closed doors.

In the sixth week of the trial, a key witness was heard, declaring to have seen the accused set the fire. It was over for Angélique, but she continued to proclaim her innocence.

Court Documents