Case against accused PQ election shooter delayed
A man is arrested by police after one person was killed and a second was injured in a shooting during the Parti Quebecois victory rally in Montreal late Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012. (The Canadian Press/Montreal La Presse - Olivier Pontbriand)
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, January 21, 2013 3:40PM EST
Last Updated Monday, January 21, 2013 4:53PM EST
MONTREAL -- There was yet another delay Monday in the case against the man charged with murder in Quebec's election-night shooting.
Richard Henry Bain was supposed to find out whether he was mentally fit to stand trial -- but that decision was pushed back to next Monday in the latest postponement in the case.
This most recent extension was granted when lawyers for the prosecution and defence asked to see notes from a psychiatric consultation ordered during Bain's detention. The notes were used as part of an evaluation, already presented to the court, which explores whether Bain is fit to stand trial.
The case has been beset by unusual delays. Initially, Bain refused to meet with a psychiatrist who spoke to him in French. There was another interruption when the report filed by the psychiatrist was in French only.
Last Friday, the psychiatrist who saw Bain failed to appear in court due to illness, prompting another pause until Monday, when the case was put off again pending the lawyers' request for notes.
"Justice will take its course. And if it takes a long time, it's in the interest of justice," said Bain's legal-aid attorney, Elfriede Duclervil.
Bain 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.
The accused voiced his displeasure with the latest delay.
He insisted he was fit to stand trial after having been detained for more than four months. Bain said he didn't say anything to the psychiatrists who took those notes, so he doesn't know what would be contained in them.
The judge also expressed a desire to move the case along. There are still other procedural issues to sort out, such as who will represent Bain once his fitness ruling is in.
"I want to finish this story because there are other important questions to decide," Judge Jean-Paul Braun said.
"We want to get it over with, this issue of fitness."
Bain himself has deemed himself fit to stand trial. The judge appears to agree -- but he added Monday that the process needed to be completed.
"I might have (hinted at) my impression that you're fit," Braun told Bain, "but that is not my final judgment."
Premier Pauline Marois has said she believes she was the intended target of a political assassination attempt.
The gunman never actually made it into the room where Marois was speaking. It was at the building exit where a stagehand was shot dead and another worker was wounded.
Moments later, as he was being arrested, Bain said, "The English are waking up."