Jurors watch surveillance video of Quebec City sword attack

A Quebec City jury watched in stunned silence today as the Crown played a police video tracking Carl Girouard’s sword attacks on Halloween 2020. Footage showed some graphic images of the 26-year-old man stabbing two of his seven victims.

Social worker sought psychiatric support for accused in 2015

Pictures shown during the second day of Carl Girouard's trial reveal new details about the Halloween sword attack. (Provided by the Service de police de la Ville de Québec)

Warning: The following story includes description of physical violence

A Quebec City jury watched in stunned silence Tuesday morning as the Crown played a police video tracking Carl Girouard's sword attacks on Halloween 2020.

Two jurors put their hands over their mouths as they watched a video of Girouard's attack on seven people in Quebec City's historic district.

In the 15-minute video shown in court Tuesday morning, the 26-year-old man can clearly be seen running toward his first victim, Rémy Bélanger, at Place d'Armes around 10:18 p.m. Girouard is then seen stabbing him multiple times. Bélanger falls to the ground but manages to get up and run away.

Seconds later, Girouard is shown running toward another man a few metres away, pushing him to the ground and stabbing him. The second victim, François Duchesne, 56, died that night.

Throughout the events, Girouard was dressed in black and carried  a 77-centimetre sword.

Carl Girouard parked his car in front of Quebec City's iconic Château Frontenac before carrying out attacks on seven people. His path is shown on the map above. (Evelyne Gagnon/CBC)

The footage initially shows him driving around Old Quebec twice, about an hour before parking his car near the Château Frontenac hotel and starting his attacks.

The video is a compilation of footage from surveillance cameras belonging to the city and nearby businesses. It was put together by Vincent Giguère, a Quebec City police officer tasked with retracing Girouard's steps. 

Giguère was called to testify in front of the jury on the second day of Girouard's murder trial.

Crown prosecutors also showed pictures of the scenes of the attacks, which were taken by Quebec City police in the hours and days after the event. The jury saw photos of Girouard's car, costume and a sword smeared with blood and dirt. 

Another picture showed a victim's green hat, displaying clear slashing marks.

The defence argues Girouard cannot be held criminally responsible for his actions, because he had a mental disorder at the time.

The Crown is trying to prove that the defendant was sane and fully aware of his actions when he carried out the attacks.

Accused's mental state questioned as early as 2015 

Crown prosecutors showed the jury pictures of Girouard taken by Quebec City police after the attacks. (Service de police de la Ville de Québec)

Charles-André Bourdua testified as Girouard's former social worker and told the court that, as early as 2015, he had questions about his client's mental state.

In August 2015 the social worker asked that Girouard be seen by a psychiatrist. But months before that, Bourdua had asked for the young man to be evaluated by a psychological expert and given more in-depth mental health support.

Almost a year later, in September 2015, Girouard still hadn't received that help.

The social worker said some of Girouard's comments appeared to be obsessive and sometimes disconnected from reality.

Bourdua described a meeting he had with Girouard at the defendant's home in March 2015, when the young man told him that "suffering is temporary but honour is forever."

"It's a weird comment, it's unusual," Bourdua told Girouard's attorney, Pierre Gagnon.

Girouard also showed him a sword he kept at home but said he would be using another weapon for his plan, Bourdua said. The sword from Girouard's home was not used in the October 2020 killings.

He said Girouard told him his ideal world would have fewer people, less pollution and no firearms. 

The trial continued Tuesday afternoon with 11 jurors instead of the usual 12, as one member had to be excused because she had tested positive for COVID-19.

The minimum number of jurors allowed for a trial to continue is 10. All members will be tested Wednesday morning.

With files from Yannick Bergeron and Franca Mignacca