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Richard Henry Bain Guilty Of Second-Degree Murder In Election-Night Shooting: Jury

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MONTREAL — A jury has convicted Quebec's 2012 election-night shooter of second-degree murder in the death of a lighting technician.

The jurors also found Richard Henry Bain guilty on Tuesday of three counts of attempted murder.

The verdict came on the 11th day of jury deliberations.

Bain was facing a charge of first-degree murder in the death of Denis Blanchette outside a nightclub as then-Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois was inside celebrating her party's election win on Sept. 4, 2012.

quebec shooting
Police and fireman work at the rear of an auditorium where a gunman shot and killed one person during the PQ victory rally on Sept. 5, 2012. (Photo: Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Bain's lawyer argued he was mentally ill at the time of slaying and should be found not criminally responsible by way of mental illness.

The Crown countered the crimes were planned and deliberate and politically motivated by anger over the PQ victory.

Bain, 65, was heavily armed and wearing a balaclava and a blue bathrobe when he fired a single shot before his rifle jammed.

The bullet killed Blanchette, 48, and seriously injured his colleague, Dave Courage.

richard bain trial court
Richard Bain appears at court. (Photo: The Canadian Press)

The two men were milling about with a dozen colleagues outside the Metropolis club waiting for the PQ rally to end.

Bain was tackled by police and arrested without firing off another shot, despite several attempts to keep going, civilian and police witnesses told the court.

As he was led away, Bain yelled out in French at a television camera: "The English Are Waking Up."

Case centred around Bain's mental health

Nearly four years later, the case centred around Bain's state of mind as the accused mounted a mental disorder defence outlined in Sec. 16 of the Criminal Code.

The Crown and defence presented two different versions of the night's events, in part through the duelling reports of two forensic psychiatrists.

The defence's Marie-Frederique Allard claimed Bain was psychotic the night of the shooting, likely stemming from undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Bain believed he was on a mission from God.

The Crown's expert, Joel Watts, argued Bain wasn't sick at all and likely acted out of anger over the PQ victory.

"I know what I did was wrong."

At trial, the accused claimed to have no recollection of the events.

Bain said he'd overdosed on Cymbalta, an anti-depressant, which he suggested triggered a memory loss.

There was no trace of Cymbalta in his blood and neither psychiatrist believed the 2012 psychosis was linked to an overdose on anti-depressants.

The Crown had doubts about the NCR defence. Crown prosecutor Dennis Galiatsatos suggested Bain made several decisions that night that raised questions about the defence claim he was psychotic.

Bain asked for directions to the Metropolis, chose the right weapons, loaded them properly and took care to remove the licence plate from his car, Galiatsatos said.

Galiatsatos said Bain appeared to be very aware during conversations with police and in particular with a nurse to whom he said two days after the shooting: "I know what I did was wrong."

The Crown also referred repeatedly to a series of handwritten answers from Bain during a November 2012 meeting with Allard.

Bain was political: lawyer

The accused wrote that he intended to "kill as many separatists as I could" and that he would have kept going had his weapon not jammed, even shooting Marois if he had the chance.

Galiatsatos said Bain was political and stayed that way after his arrest, cold-calling various radio and television stations in both languages to discuss his political "vision'' for Montreal to separate from Quebec.

"There is evidence that he was passionate about politics — even after being arrested for first-degree murder," the prosecutor said. "This is clearly someone who was serious about those political beliefs."

Bain, the owner of a fishing business, was portrayed by some witnesses as a generous man and hard worker with no criminal record whose mental health took a tumble in 2009 when he was put on Cymbalta.

He blew through his life savings and was obsessed with an impending H1N1 outbreak, stockpiling weapons, military vehicles and supplies.

Bain never recovered from psychosis: defence

Defence lawyer Alan Guttman said although Bain got off Cymbalta, he never really recovered from that psychosis and went back on it without his doctor's knowledge in 2012.

Guttman had asked jurors to consider whether Bain's actions were those of someone in a rage or someone who was psychotic, as the defence contended.

He also noted that Bain told police at the scene that he meant to shoot over the heads of the stagehands.

But the Crown questioned how an experienced hunter could have missed so badly.

"Did he just say that because he realized he was caught, and he realized he was in trouble — big trouble," Galiatsatos asked jurors in his closing arguments. "And he realized he better think of a way to get out of it?"

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