Montreal

COVID-19 puts trial of Quebec City sword attacker on pause

The trial hearing of Carl Girouard, the man accused in the 2020 Quebec City sword attack, has been postponed until Tuesday because a second jury member tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday morning.

A 2nd member of the jury tested positive on Wednesday

A second jury member tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday morning. Without that juror, there would only be 10 people left in the jury, which is the minimum number allowed for the trial to continue. (Illustration by Hbé)

The trial hearing of Carl Girouard, the man accused in the 2020 Quebec City sword attack, has been postponed until next week because a second jury member tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday morning.

Without that juror, there would only be 10 people left in the jury, which is the minimum number allowed for the trial to continue. 

To avoid that scenario and allow for some wiggle room in the weeks to come, lawyers on both sides agreed to postpone the trial until next Tuesday, after Easter weekend.

"It's not a major inconvenience since Friday and Monday are holidays," Quebec Superior Court Justice Richard Grenier told the jury at the Quebec City courthouse Wednesday, when he informed them of the decision.

"It'll also allow, if ever there are some of you that were positive [for COVID-19], for the five days [of isolation] to pass."

On Tuesday, the second day of Girouard's trial, one juror was excused because she had tested positive for COVID-19.

All jurors are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Their seats are separated by plexiglass barriers. They have to wear masks when they enter and leave the courtroom, but they are allowed to remove them once they are seated.

This would have been the third day of Girouard's trial.

The 26-year-old man, who is from Sainte-Thérèse, Que., near Montreal, is charged with two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder. 

Girouard acknowledges having committed the attacks, but the defence argues that he cannot be held criminally responsible because he was mentally unstable at the time.

The Crown claims that he was sane and perfectly aware of his actions, and had been planning them for some time.

On Tuesday, the jury saw surveillance video and picture evidence of Girouard's path on the night of the event. They also heard two witnesses talk about two meetings they had with him as early as 2014, where he was already talking about killing people.

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