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Man accused in Quebec election-night shooting fit to stand trial

Richard Henry Bain arrives at court in Montreal on Thursday, September 6, 2012.

Jacques Nadeau/The Canadian Press

After smiling, laughing and giving thumbs-up signs from the prisoner's dock, Quebec's accused election-night murderer was found fit to stand trial – prompting him to declare that Jesus Christ had spoken.

Richard Henry Bain punctuated his court appearance on Monday with gestures and running colour commentary, while a psychiatrist testified that although she couldn't reach a definitive conclusion about Mr. Bain's mental state, nothing warranted finding him unfit to stand trial.

That clearly pleased the accused. Once Judge Jean-Paul Braun concluded that Mr. Bain's case would proceed to trial, the 62-year-old stood and called out: "Jesus Christ just spoke through you, your honour, thank you."

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Mr. Bain's state of mind has been a recurring matter of speculation since he was led away on election night, in a bathrobe and balaclava and shouting that the English were waking up, after a shooting outside the Parti Québécois's victory party in downtown Montreal.

In court Monday, shackles hanging over his tasselled loafers, Mr. Bain declared that in the event he would have to defend himself, he would insist on having all legal documents translated into English even if it cost a lot of money to taxpayers.

"Tell that to Mme. Marois," he said.

Mr. Bain faces 16 charges including murder and attempted murder after the fatal attack outside the Métropolis nightclub that claimed a stagehand's life and wounded another. Premier-elect Pauline Marois, who was delivering a speech to supporters inside the venue, later called it a politically motivated attempt on her life.

The psychiatrist who evaluated Mr. Bain twice at the Pinel Institute of forensic psychiatry in Montreal said that although Mr. Bain understood the charges against him, he showed a "marked detachment" and seemed unworried about them given their seriousness.

The psychiatrist, Chantal Bouchard, also noted that Mr. Bain was "very invested" in religious ideas and expressed a desire to become a pastor. His behaviour could be a sign of "religious delirium," she said.

Mr. Bain told her that he'd rather be evaluated by a psychiatrist of "English culture" who would "understand him better." Dr. Bouchard said her unit had four francophone, bilingual psychiatrists.

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Mr. Bain refused to speak to the psychiatrist about the facts in the case or his relationship with his lawyer. In the end, Dr. Bouchard admitted, "some of the picture is missing."

Judge Braun of Quebec Court said that although he too was left with questions, "in the circumstances I am of the opinion that it was not established on the balance of the probabilities that the accused is unfit."

The issue of Mr. Bain's legal counsel also has to be settled. He's being represented by a legal-aid lawyer but doesn't qualify for the service. He returns to court Feb. 20.

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About the Author

Ingrid Peritz has been a Montreal-based correspondent for The Globe and Mail since 1998. Her reporting on the plight of Canadians suffering from the damaging effects of the drug thalidomide helped victims obtain federal compensation and earned The Globe and Mail a National Newspaper Award, Canadian Journalism Foundation award, and the Michener Award for public service. More

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