Trial to go ahead for man charged in PQ election-night shooting
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, January 28, 2013 12:13PM EST
Last Updated Monday, January 28, 2013 10:53PM EST
MONTREAL -- The man charged in Quebec's election-night shooting has been declared mentally fit to stand trial -- a decision he called divine will.
"Jesus Christ spoke through you, your honour," Richard Henry Bain told Judge Jean-Paul Braun on Monday.
Bain's fitness hearing had been delayed several times in recent weeks following the shooting, which happened the night of Sept. 4.
The fishing-lodge owner faces 16 charges, including first-degree murder, related to the attack at a downtown Montreal club where the Parti Quebecois was celebrating its election victory last September.
A stagehand was shot dead and another was wounded by a single bullet.
Premier Pauline Marois, who was giving a victory speech inside the theatre, has said she believes she was the target of a political assassination attempt.
Despite being unable to do a complete analysis of Bain, psychiatrist Chantal Bouchard testified Monday there was nothing to prevent the accused from being declared fit to stand trial.
Bain has refused to speak to Bouchard about his relationship with his lawyer or discuss the facts of the case, saying he's acting on the advice of his attorney.
In his psychiatric interview, Bain made it clear he "preferred to open up with a psychiatrist of the English culture," said Bouchard, who added an anglophone would understand him better.
Bain was observed over a span of two weeks at Montreal's Pinel Institute and the unit had four francophone, bilingual psychiatrists. Bain told the court that sending him to an English psychiatrist would not produce a different result.
Bouchard's report offered no firm conclusion in the report -- a situation she called a first in seven years of conducting such analysis.
"Some of the picture is missing," Bouchard testified.
Bain pumped his fist from the prisoner's box as Bouchard said there was nothing specific to have him declared unfit and that he appeared in good mental health. He thanked her as she completed her testimony.
The judge later agreed with the psychiatrist's assessment.
"I may be left with questions as the doctor was, but in the circumstances I am of the opinion that it was not established on the balance of the probabilities that the accused is unfit," Braun ruled.
The case has been beset by delays, with Bain initially refusing to speak to a psychiatrist who spoke to him in French. Additional time was then needed to translate documents into English. Scheduling conflicts with the psychiatrist and the need to consult other documents have also caused delays.
The judge had said he wanted to get the issue of fitness out of the way so the case could move forward.
A new court date was set for Feb. 20 when Bain will have to figure out who will represent him.
While he's being represented by a legal-aid lawyer for now, he doesn't qualify for the service.
"There are other avenues and Judge Braun wants to examine other avenues," said his lawyer, Elfriede Duclervil. "You heard the prosecution mention there is no way they'd want Mr. Bain to represent himself, so there is a dilemma."
Bain has told the court he makes $36,000 a year and can't afford a lawyer. He told Braun he's ready to go it on his own if need be.
"The psychiatrist said that I'm defensive," Bain said. "You haven't seen me when I go on the offensive. If I have to represent myself, I will do it."
Bain told the Crown he intends to demand all court documents be translated into English and said they should discuss the matter with Marois herself.
Bain has also said he intends to seek bail at some point.