A Montreal judge has withdrawn from the civil case of a former Concordia University professor convicted of killing four colleagues, claiming he can no longer be objective in the face of Valery Fabrikant's "aggressive," "cynical" and "denigrating" attitude in court.

Superior Court Justice Gilles Hébert recused himself from Fabrikant's civil case Tuesday morning, saying he has listened to Fabrikant's rambling arguments and insults for several weeks, but is no longer willing to sit on the case.

Fabrikant, who appeared via video link from prison, smiled broadly and clapped as the judge left the courtroom without hearing any further arguments in the civil lawsuit.

The 67-year old, who is serving a life sentence for killing four Concordia University colleagues in 1992,is suing a host of otherstaff members at the Montreal institutionfor $600,000 in damages.

Fabrikant claimshis former colleagues"unfairly profited" from his research and "extorted" his documents.

Fabrikant, who was representing himself, tested Hébert's patience from the outset, bringing motions about the size of the table that he was allowed to sit at during the hearing and insulting the judge and the defendants in the case.

On Tuesday, Hébert said he was taken aback by Fabrikant's behaviour throughout the proceedings, so much that he is convinced he is unable to remain objective and serene.

Hébert's announcement means a new judge will have to be named to hear the case.

With files from the Canadian Press