POLITICS

Man charged in Montreal subway smoke-bomb attack gets bail

05/24/2012 11:16 EDT | Updated 07/24/2012 05:12 EDT
MONTREAL - A Quebec judge has granted bail under very strict conditions to the last person detained after a smoke-bomb attack crippled Montreal's subway system.

Francois-Vivier Gagnon, is prohibited from taking part in protests of any kind.

He must also abide by a curfew at night, stay away from the Montreal subway and any educational institutions, and not be in the possession of weapons or explosives.

His family had to put up bail of $15,000, including a deposit of $5,000, to get him out of jail Thursday.

The Crown had objected to Gagnon's release because of a pending case related to the Quebec student unrest.

Gagnon, 22, is charged with a large group in the occupation of a Montreal college that suffered considerable damage a few months ago.

"One of the conditions is that he's prohibited to protest, so he's not going to be able to join any protests in Montreal or (anywhere) in Quebec," said Crown prosecutor Steeve Lariviere.

"The court came to the conclusion that in order to reassure the general population that he should be banned from being able to protest in any way at this point in time."

Gagnon spent a dozen nights in jail waiting to be freed. The details of testimony heard during his hearing were subject to a publication ban.

Quebec court Judge Jean-Pierre Boyer told Gagnon he should thank his family for his release.

A smoke-bomb attack temporarily paralyzed Montreal's subway system at the height of morning rush hour on May 10.

Various subway stations were targeted, prompting a mass evacuation of the transit system and causing considerable panic in some stations as well as widespread frustration for thousands of users.

Three young women arrested with Gagnon were granted bail last week.

Gagnon, 22, faces charges of perpetrating a terrorist hoax; mischief of more than $5,000; conspiracy to commit mischief; and possession of a prohibited weapon. According to the charges, the weapon was a butterfly knife.

The charge of perpetrating a terrorist hoax carries a maximum five-year prison term.

His co-accused, Genevieve Vaillancourt, 25, Vanessa L'Ecuyer, 22, and Roxanne Belisle, 23, each have to abide by 19 conditions similar to those given to Gagnon.

They include a curfew and being forbidden from being near or in a subway or educational establishment. None of the four are allowed to talk to each other.

Gagnon faced a higher bail amount and being prohibited from taking part in protests anywhere in Quebec.

"The court came to the conclusion that the guarantees offered were sufficient," Lariviere said.

The case returns to court June 22.