Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Judge Says Man Charged in 2012 Election Shooting Should Get State-Funded Lawyer

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Judge Says Man Charged in 2012 Election Shooting Should Get State-Funded Lawyer

Article excerpt

Quebec election shooting: accused might get lawyer

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MONTREAL - A judge ruled Wednesday that the accused in Quebec's 2012 election night shooting should have access to a state-funded lawyer.

Justice Guy Cournoyer said the court believes having proper legal counsel with funding advanced by the province is as much in Richard Henry Bain's interest as it is in the public's.

Cournoyer said that while Bain, 63, is currently unable to pay for a lawyer, he has offered to reimburse the province in the future for his legal fees.

"In this very unusual and exceptional circumstance, the court is of the view that an order providing for state-funded counsel to Mr. Bain is both in his interest and in society's interest, in having the charges disposed of on the merits within a reasonable time," Cournoyer said.

"Time is of the essence."

Bain is charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder after an attack at a Montreal club in September 2012 as Pauline Marois celebrated the election victory of her Parti Quebecois.

Lighting technician Denis Blanchette was fatally shot and colleague David Courage was wounded as they stood near a doorway to the downtown Metropolis nightclub where Marois was giving her speech.

Bain is also facing several weapons charges as well as some relating to arson in the same incident.

A first-degree murder trial is complex, Cournoyer said.

"A jury trial is exacting even for the most accomplished lawyers," Cournoyer said. "There is no such thing as a simple jury trial when the charge is first-degree murder."

Bain had previously been ruled ineligible for legal aid, resulting in his initial lawyer recusing herself from the case.

Cournoyer said it became clear during the state-funding hearing that Bain's inability to afford legal representation was only temporary. The judge acknowledged that Bain's offer to reimburse the province in due course is unusual, but not unheard of. …

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