POLITICS

Chaotic morning at Montreal prison led to Francis Boucher's release, lawyer says

03/30/2015 02:26 EDT | Updated 05/30/2015 05:59 EDT
MONTREAL - A chaotic morning at a Montreal prison may have contributed to the son of a former Hells Angels boss being prematurely released from detention, his lawyer suggested Monday.

Francis Boucher's lawyer, Dimitrios Strapatsas, says he doesn't have all the evidence yet, but what he has seen points to a tumultuous Monday morning on March 23 with prison officials dealing with several issues.

Strapatsas said four different inmates with the surname Boucher were housed at Bordeaux prison on the day his client was freed.

One of them was supposed to have been released a day earlier and had been forgotten.

"There was a rush to get him out as quickly as possible," Strapatsas said. "Because he wasn't on the list to be released, he slipped through the cracks."

Guards were told to go get Stephane Boucher and Strapatsas suggested the paperwork wasn't properly verified because of everything going on that morning.

"When they realized it, it was a little bit too late," Strapatsas said.

Prison officials were also dealing with an influx of inmates serving weekend sentences as well as an incident in the "bullpen" area where releases are processed, the lawyer said. There also appears to have been a clerical backlog.

"The error began on Saturday the 21st, someone did not record the ins and outs properly and people who were playing catch up on the 23rd at some point dropped the ball," Strapatsas said.

Boucher, 39, is facing three new charges stemming from the four days he spent on the lam: identity theft, escaping lawful custody and being unlawfully at large.

The case was due back in court for a bail hearing Monday, but was postponed until April 27 instead while lawyers wait for all the evidence, including prison video.

Boucher is serving a sentence that is due to end in two months, but Strapatsas says he would like a bail hearing on the new charges before his other sentence is completed.

"It's a simple case but it's a heavy case," said Strapatsas. "Over 30 prison guards intervened at some level or another . . . there's over 10 police officers that intervened."

Boucher, the son of former Hells Angels kingpin Maurice (Mom) Boucher, was previously sentenced to 10 years behind bars for gangsterism, conspiracy to commit murder and drug-trafficking.

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