Man charged in stabbing of Montreal priest sent for psychiatric evaluation
A man armed with a knife runs toward the altar at Saint Joseph's Oratory during mass on Friday March 22, 2019.
Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, March 25, 2019 4:04PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 25, 2019 6:17PM EDT
MONTREAL -- A Montreal man charged with the attempted murder of a Catholic priest last week was ordered Monday to undergo an evaluation at a psychiatric hospital.
The Crown and defence agreed that Vlad Cristian Eremia should go to Montreal's Pinel Institute to assess his level of criminal responsibility.
Eremia, 26, met with a criminologist at the Montreal courthouse, who made the recommendation just four days after Rev. Claude Grou suffered minor injuries in a knife attack at Montreal's St. Joseph's Oratory during morning mass.
Quebec court Judge Pierre Labelle ordered Eremia to remain at the hospital for 30 days, returning to court on April 26.
"There were some facts and information collected by the criminologist this morning that an evaluation for his criminal responsibility would be important in the present file," prosecutor Simon Boulianne said following the brief hearing. "We'll wait for the report regarding that evaluation."
Eremia, who was arraigned over the weekend, also faces a charge of assault with a weapon. He was represented by legal-aid lawyer Fabrice Poirier on Monday.
Grou, 77, was released from hospital Friday night. The Oratory's rector, he said in a statement over the weekend that despite the attack, he holds no ill will towards his alleged assailant.
"I have no resentment against Mr. Eremia. I hope he has all the support he needs and that he finds peace. I am convinced that he had no personal animosity towards me but that he acted according to his own convictions," Grou said.
The incident Friday morning was captured on a live stream when a man with a knife rushed the sanctuary of the landmark church and stabbed Grou in front of dozens of worshippers.
Witnesses said a man rose from a pew midway through the morning mass and rounded the altar to stab Grou as he prepared to proclaim the gospel. They said the suspect, who was quickly restrained by those present, did not speak during the attack and waited calmly for police to arrive.
Police have not suggested a motive for the attack, but say there's no evidence to suggest the suspect was linked to any group.
On Saturday, the Crown objected to Eremia's release.