POLITICS

Murder trial to start Sept. 8 for man charged in 2012 Quebec election shooting

03/31/2015 11:33 EDT | Updated 05/31/2015 05:59 EDT
MONTREAL - The trial for the man charged in Quebec's 2012 election-night shooting has been scheduled to start on his 65th birthday.

The first-degree murder proceedings against Richard Henry Bain are expected to last between six and eight weeks, beginning Sept. 8.

"It's both in the interest of Mr. Bain and society for a trial to proceed," Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer Cournoyer said Tuesday.

"If I don't set the trial date right now, we all know what could happen... I have scheduled cases for 2016, 2017."

Bain is charged in the slaying of lighting technician Denis Blanchette outside a Montreal nightclub on Sept. 4, 2012, as then-Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois was toasting her party's election win.

He also faces two counts of attempted murder and several weapons-related charges.

One of the outstanding issues is whether Bain will have a lawyer.

Alan Guttman, a veteran Montreal attorney, has been representing Bain in recent weeks, but he won't take on a mandate for a two-month trial without assurances he'll be paid.

"When someone is not eligible for legal aid but cannot afford a lawyer, the court will intervene," Guttman said. "In this case, it's a little complicated because there were two properties at issue."

Bain's properties were sold recently, but Guttman said the whereabouts of the money remains a mystery.

A hearing has been set for April 22 to deal with the compensation issue.

Bain's trial will go ahead with or without a defence lawyer.

"Whether I'm there or not, that's what I understood from the judge," Guttman said.

Also pending is a psychiatric report ordered by Cournoyer that examines Bain's mental state at the time of the alleged crimes.

Prosecutor Dennis Galiatsatos said the Crown was ready to proceed with the original trial date this past January and he doesn't expect the report to have a huge impact.

"My case is prepared already," Galiatsatos said. "Depending on the conclusions of the psychiatric report, we might have to add or subtract to it (the case)."

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