POLITICS

Richard Henry Bain given last chance to find lawyer ahead of murder trial

01/19/2015 11:15 EST | Updated 03/21/2015 05:59 EDT
MONTREAL - The man charged with first-degree murder in Quebec's 2012 election shooting has been given one last chance to find himself a lawyer ahead of his trial.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer authorized a 30-day delay in the case Monday to allow Richard Henry Bain to undergo a court-ordered evaluation that should take place next week.

The judge ordered Bain, 64, to find an attorney before the case resumes Feb. 20.

Bain is also charged with two counts of attempted murder stemming from an attack outside a downtown Montreal club where then-PQ leader Pauline Marois was toasting her party's election victory on Sept. 4, 2012.

Lighting technician Denis Blanchette was fatally shot and colleague David Courage was wounded as they stood near a doorway to the club.

Bain's trial had been scheduled to begin Monday but was delayed during a December court appearance.

Cournoyer told the accused he wants a date set soon.

"At some point, a decision to set a trial date has to be made," Cournoyer said. "This cannot go on forever."

Cournoyer told Bain the co-ordinating judge who schedules the already overloaded court calendar is already setting trials for early 2017.

It's unclear when Bain's trial would take place, and Cournoyer has asked the Crown to provide details to help determine how long it might last.

Cournoyer has repeatedly suggested that Bain procure legal representation. The accused claims he hasn't found anyone willing to take on his case.

Bain has enlisted the help of a civil lawyer, Daniel Romano, to help him find an attorney either in Quebec or from elsewhere in the country.

Bain is also scheduled to meet with Dr. Joel Watts for a psychiatric evaluation for the court to determine his mental state at the time of the offence.

At his bail hearing last November, Bain told Cournoyer he'd overdosed on medication the night of the slaying. He also claims to have little memory of the events.

Prosecutor Dennis Galiatsatos says he is ready to proceed regardless of whether Bain has a lawyer.

"It presents certain challenges in the management of the file, but we'll deal with them," Galiatsatos told reporters.

"It's not the first trial and it won't be the last where an accused represents himself."