Montreal

Man charged in stabbing of Montreal priest sent for psychiatric evaluation

The Montreal man accused of stabbing Father Claude Grou at Saint Joseph's Oratory on Friday will undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he can be held criminally responsible for the attack.

Police have not suggested a motive, but say there's no evidence the suspect is linked to any group

Montreal police were called to the Saint Joseph's Oratory on Friday after a man attacked the rector, Father Claude Grou. (Radio-Canada)

The Montreal man accused of stabbing Father Claude Grou at Saint Joseph's Oratory on Friday will undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he can be held criminally responsible for the attack.

The accused, Vlad Christian Eremia, 26, will be assessed at the Philippe-Pinel Institute for the next 30 days.

Quebec court Judge Pierre Labelle ordered Eremia to remain in hospital until he returns to court on April 26.

Eremia was formally charged Saturday via video link in a Montreal courthouse with attempted murder and assault with a weapon. At that time, prosecutors opposed Eremia's release and requested he receive a psychosocial evaluation.

A spokesperson for Saint Joseph's Oratory said 77-year-old Father Claude Grou, likely in shock, hadn't realized he'd been hurt after the attack. (Saint Joseph's Oratory)

Eremia, who is represented by a legal aid lawyer, met a criminologist on Monday who also recommended that his degree of criminal responsibility be assessed.

"There were some facts and information collected by the criminologist this morning that an evaluation for his criminal responsibility would be important in the present file,'' prosecutor Simon Boulianne said. "We'll wait for the report regarding that evaluation.''

What motivated the suspect to stab the 77-year-old rector of the oratory is still unknown.

Police have not suggested a motive, but say there's no evidence the suspect is linked to any group.

The attack was captured on video, aired live online and on television in a broadcast by the Catholic channel Salt + Light.

There were about 60 parishioners in attendance and several reported seeing a man stand up from his pew, charge up to the priest and lash out with a knife.

The suspect was quickly wrestled to the floor by security guards and Montreal police showed up a short time later to arrest the man.

Father Grou was treated at hospital for minor injuries and took some time off to recover. Security has since been increased at the oratory.

On Saturday afternoon, Grou released a statement saying he bears "no resentment" against the accused and he hopes the suspect "has all the support he needs and that he finds peace."

With files from Radio-Canada and The Canadian Press

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