Montreal

Inmate sentenced to 16 years in prison for brazen helicopter escape

Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for a brazen helicopter escape from a Quebec detention centre in 2013 that made headlines around the world.

Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau escaped from Saint-Jérôme detention centre in 2013 via hijacked helicopter

On March 17, 2013, inmates Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau and Dany Provençal escaped from a detention centre in St-Jérôme, Que.

Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for a brazen helicopter escape from a Quebec detention centre in 2013 that made headlines around the world.

Hudon-Barbeau, a Hells Angels sympathizer, pleaded guilty in January 2016 to charges of:

  • Theft of an aircraft.
  • Escape from a prison.
  • Breaking and entering into a house.
  • Theft and damage of the property of others.

At the time of his escape, Hudon-Barbeau was serving time at the provincial jail in Saint-Jérôme for gun possession.

Hudon-Barbeau made his escape with fellow inmate Danny Provençal after two accomplices hijacked a helicopter and forced its pilot to fly to the jail. 
A video showing a helicopter escape of two inmates from a St-Jérôme, Que., jail was unveiled during a criminal trial. 3:39

The video shows the men climbing up the rope to get onto the roof, where a helicopter was waiting. They both cling to the rope, which is attached to the helicopter. As the chopper takes off, it carries Hudon-Barbeau and Provençal with it.

A few hours later, police nabbed the two inmates. Since his arrest, Hudon-Barbeau has been detained at a facility in Rivière-des-Prairies, in the building's high-security section.

18-year sentence dropped to 16 years

In his ruling, Quebec Superior Court Justice Marc David said he took into consideration Hudon-Barbeau's detention conditions. The 41-year-old, who suffers from mental health issues, has had to stay in his cell 20 hours a day, with no access to activities, no physical contact with other inmates and very limited access to medical care.

Because of time already served, Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau has nine years left in his sentence. (Radio-Canada)
"The relative isolation experienced by Hudon-Barbeau for more than four years is a violation of his human dignity," David wrote in his decision.

David reduced his 18-year sentence to 16 years.

With time already served behind bars, Hudon-Barbeau has nine years left in his sentence.

But his time before the courts is not over. Hudon-Barbeau was recently convicted of two murders and two attempted murders. He is still awaiting sentencing for those crimes.

Translated from a report by Radio-Canada's Geneviève Garon

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