Montreal

Richard Bain, PQ election night rally shooter, appeals parole eligibility to Supreme Court

The lawyer for Richard Bain, the man who shot and killed a stagehand and wounded another at a PQ election night victory rally in 2012, is asking the Supreme Court of Canada to consider reducing the amount of time before Bain is eligible for parole.

Bain's lawyer alleges trial judge based 20-year minimum prison term on 'politics'

This sketch of Richard Bain was made in the courtroom during his trial on second-degree and attempted murder charges. (CBC)

Richard Bain, the man found guilty of second-degree murder after fatally shooting a stagehand and wounding another outside the Parti Québécois election night victory rally in 2012, is appealing his period of parole eligibility to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Bain killed 48-year-old Denis Blanchette outside the Metropolis nightclub in downtown Montreal when he opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle, as then-premier-designate Pauline Marois was delivering her victory speech to a crowd of supporters.

Bain, who turns 69 in September, was sentenced in November 2016 to life in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years.

Bain's lawyer, Alan Guttman, told CBC Wednesday he believes 20 years is too long.

"The way it goes he'll be over 83 years old, the first chance he has at parole. For a man at his age, in these circumstances, there's a good chance he won't make it," Guttman said.

Guttman said he believes 15 years or less would be more appropriate.

Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois was removed from the stage by SQ officers as she was speaking to supporters following the PQ's electoral victory on Sept. 4, 2012. (Graham Hughes/CP)

'An error's an error'

Guttman already appealed Bain's period of parole eligibility to the Quebec Court of Appeal.

He argued the trial judge, Guy Cournoyer, made a serious error.

Alan Guttman is Richard Bain's defence lawyer. (CBC)

"He had to — there was no discretion, it was mandatory — he had to ask the jury to retire and to make a recommendation of how many years for eligibility between 10 and 25. He forgot to do it," Guttman said.

A panel of Appeal Court judges ruled on the matter in March.

"There were five judges. Three said it was an error in good faith. I don't know what an error in good faith is," said Guttman. "An error's an error."

The other two judges on the panel acknowledged the error was serious but not serious enough to change Bain's period of parole eligibility.

It's this point that Guttman hopes to argue before the Supreme Court.

'Political' decision

Guttman believes Cournoyer's decision was affected by the fact that Marois was Bain's ultimate target.

"If this would've been just an ordinary person — not the election night shooting — I don't think he would've got more than 12 years' eligibility," Guttman said.

"It's a 27-page judgment. He's talking about democracy and political stature and this type of crime is reprehensible — the worst thing possible. It's all based on the politics," he said.

 

About the Author

Steve Rukavina is a journalist with CBC Montreal.