POLITICS

Richard Henry Bain denied bail in Quebec's 2012 election shooting

12/19/2014 11:15 EST | Updated 02/18/2015 05:59 EST
MONTREAL - A judge denied bail Friday to the man charged in Quebec's 2012 election shooting, telling him political violence is unacceptable in a democracy such as Canada.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer ruled that Richard Henry Bain, who is charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder, failed to satisfy the court he would not pose a risk to society.

Bain will remain behind bars until his trial, which will now be rescheduled in order to deal with a number of issues.

In denying bail, Cournoyer said Bain's motives in the alleged slaying — purely political — render them all the more troublesome.

"No court of law can condone the use of violence, especially with firearms, to suppress the freedom of speech and expression of anyone, no matter what political party or opinion is involved," Cournoyer said.

"Political violence is simply unacceptable in a constitutional democracy based upon the rule of law."

The charges against Bain stem from an attack on Sept. 4, 2012, outside a downtown Montreal club where then-Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois was toasting her party's election victory.

The court has heard evidence he'd gone to the club to stop Marois from delivering her speech and that he was heavily armed while listening to radio coverage of the election near the venue.

Lighting technician Denis Blanchette was fatally shot and colleague David Courage was wounded as they milled about near a doorway to the Metropolis, waiting for the political rally to end.

Both men were struck with a single shot before the weapon jammed.

Bain was arrested after a short foot chase.

"The evidence of the offences against Mr. Bain is solid, persuasive and overwhelming," Cournoyer said.

The judge referred to Quebec's two sovereignty referendums as proof that Canada has experienced political tension without violence being involved.

He also noted that between 1993 and 1997, the Official Opposition in Ottawa was the Bloc Quebecois, a party whose primary interest was the promotion of Quebec sovereignty.

"Apart from very well-known events, our country's history has largely been spared political violence," he said.

"The constitutional history of our country proves that the political debates were indeed passionate and intense but political violence was not resorted to."

Bain's murder trial, scheduled to begin in late January, will be delayed. Cournoyer also cancelled jury selection.

At his bail hearing in November, Bain told Cournoyer he'd overdosed on medication the night of the slaying in an unsworn statement. His doctor was supposed to testify but was unable to appear.

"Proceeding in the face of the statements you made last November without investigating properly the issue, with the tools that exist in the Criminal Code, would be inappropriate," Cournoyer told him.

The judge ruled Bain has to undergo an assessment to determine his mental state at the time of the offence and that it be done specifically by an English-speaking psychiatrist, Dr. Joel Watts.

Bain said he wouldn't have much to say a psychiatrist — he claims to not remember anything about the events of election night. He also came out against going to Montreal's Pinel Institute, a psychiatric facility he described as "separatiste au boutte" (separatist to the core)

Cournoyer suggested Watts, who appeared before him at the Luka Rocco Magnotta trial, and assured Bain the doctor "would appear to me to be an independent kind of guy."

Cournoyer said the case will return to court on Jan. 19 to get a better idea of the timetable.

There is also a new prosecutor in the case, Dennis Galiatsatos.

Meanwhile, Bain let it be known he'd be asking for a delay because he no longer wants to represent himself. He suggested Quebec government institutions are making it impossible for him to defend himself.

"I want competent counsel," Bain said, adding he'll seek an attorney from outside Quebec who isn't "biased."

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