POLITICS

Quebec election-killing case delayed once again, this time until Monday

01/18/2013 04:00 EST | Updated 03/19/2013 05:12 EDT
MONTREAL - The man charged with murder in Quebec's election-night shooting should find out Monday if he's fit to stand trial following yet another delay in the case.

The latest snafu occurred after the psychiatrist who saw Richard Henry Bain failed to appear in court Friday due to illness.

Two previous delays involved language: the first because of Bain's unwillingness to meet with a French-speaking psychiatrist and the second after a French-only report of his assessment needed to be translated into English.

Bain insists he's fit to stand trial while the judge and the Crown have both said they are ready to proceed.

But Bain's legal-aid lawyer, Elfriede Duclervil, said she wanted to hear from Chantal Bouchard, who conducted the assessment, about Bain's unwillingness to discuss the facts of the case.

Duclervil said in court that Bouchard told her in a telephone exchange that's Bain fitness was inconclusive because she wasn't able to evaluate him fully.

According to Duclervil, Bouchard noted in the report that Bain's lack of communication could stem from a psychotic disorder or his own rigidity. Bouchard also suggested that maybe Bain would discuss the matter only with an English-speaking psychiatrist.

Bain told the court it was his lawyer who instructed him to limit his answers. The accused previously said he's "75 per cent fit" to stand trial.

Duclervil said the issue is relevant because she has had trouble discussing a defence with him.

Quebec court Judge Jean-Paul Braun put the case off until Monday afternoon.

Bain faces 16 charges, including first-degree murder, related to the attack at a downtown Montreal club where the Parti Quebecois was celebrating its election victory last September.

Stagehand Denis Blanchette was killed and another worker, Dave Courage, was wounded.

The normally talkative Bain was far more subdued on Friday, entering the courtroom with his usual "may God bless you," but otherwise remaining quiet.

During previous hearings, the accused has often made wild declarations from the witness stand such as calling for the public to start up a website to raise money for him.

Duclervil has tried unsuccessfully to be removed from the case in previous hearings.

A December 2012 decision by her office stated Bain did not qualify for legal aid and that Duclervil didn't have a mandate to represent Bain.

The judge has said her motion to withdraw from the case would be dealt with later.

Bain insists he doesn't have the money to afford his own lawyer.