POLITICS

Man charged in 2012 Quebec election shooting will defend himself at trial

09/12/2014 04:00 EDT | Updated 11/12/2014 05:59 EST
MONTREAL - The man charged in Quebec's 2012 election shooting will defend himself at his upcoming murder trial after yet another lawyer withdrew from the case.

Richard Henry Bain says he's spoken with about 10 lawyers since his 2012 arrest and claims that none have come through for him.

Allowing Bain to defend himself is something the court has spent months trying to avoid, but Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer accepted a motion from his latest lawyer Friday to recuse himself.

"I want my trial, my trial is in four months," Bain told the judge, insisting he would not seek any other lawyer.

"I want closure."

He is charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder after an attack at a Montreal club on Sept. 4, 2012, as then-Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois celebrated her party's election with a minority government.

Lighting technician Denis Blanchette was fatally shot and colleague David Courage was wounded as they stood near a doorway to the downtown Metropolis nightclub where Marois was giving her speech.

Bain also faces several weapons charges as well as some relating to arson in the same incident.

Outgoing defence attorney Marcel Guerin didn't specify why he was withdrawing, other than to say that trust was broken between the two and that the motion "speaks for itself."

Bain suggested some lawyers have been threatened after agreeing to take on a "political" case, while others haven't responded.

"I haven't gained their confidence and they haven't gained mine," he said, summing up his inability to find a lawyer who lasts.

Some of the problems in not having legal representation cropped up during Friday's hearing.

Bain said he'd like to apply for bail, but didn't know the procedure. Both Cournoyer and Crown prosecutor Matthew Ferguson were reluctant to give him legal advice on the matter.

Ferguson told the judge he'd feel uncomfortable providing Bain with bail assistance, given he intends to oppose it.

Cournoyer delayed a pre-trial conference to Oct. 24 because it wouldn't be fair to Bain until a full disclosure of evidence could be completed. The delay was imposed despite Bain insisting he was ready to proceed.

The accused is expected to ask on that date for bail, saying he can't defend himself or properly prepare for trial while incarcerated.

Bain also submitted numerous documents: a thick stack of papers that included motions and other requests that weren't numbered beyond the first 20 pages, the judge noted.

"It's my first time, your honour," Bain told the judge apologetically.

Cournoyer responded thus: "You're charged with the most serious crime in the book, so we'll take our time."

Despite his legal woes, Bain seemed optimistic about the administration of justice in his case.

"I believe in the justice system and I believe the two of you will give me a fair trial," Bain told the judge and the Crown.

His trial is scheduled to open with pre-trial motions next Jan. 19, with jury selection expected the following week.

But given the new developments, it wasn't immediately clear if that timetable could be maintained.