Montreal

Richard Bain guilty of 2nd-degree murder in 2012 Quebec election-night shooting

A jury has found Richard Bain guilty of second-degree murder in the 2012 shooting of stagehand Denis Blanchette outside the Parti Québécois victory rally in Montreal on the night of the provincial election.

Parti Québécois shooter will get a minimum of life in prison with no parole for at least 10 years

Richard Bain, wearing a bathrobe and ski mask, was led away by police after he shot and killed a stagehand outside Montreal's Metropolis the night of Sept. 4, 2012. (Radio-Canada)

As the 34-day trial drew to an end, Diane Blanchette kept her emotions in check as the man charged with killing her brother sat mere metres away. 

But when a jury — after 11 days of deliberation — convicted Richard Bain of second-degree murder late Tuesday afternoon, her eyes finally yielded to tears. 

As the judge thanked the jury, and the courtroom emptied one last time, Diane Blanchette found the arms of her brother's friend and began to cry. 

Along with being found guilty in the death of Denis Blanchette, Bain was also found guilty on three counts of attempted murder: one for the shooting of Dave Courage, one for an attempt on provincial police Sgt. Stéphane Champagne and one for an attempt on a group of stagehands who were standing outside the Metropolis concert hall on Sept. 4, 2012.

On that night, Bain charged at the back door of the Metropolis. Inside, the Parti Québécois was celebrating a provincial election victory. 

Bain fired a CZ 858 semi-automatic rifle into the group of stagehands gathered by the rear of the concert hall. He only got one shot off before the gun jammed.

But that shot — a single military-grade bullet — killed Blanchette and seriously injured Courage, a friend and colleague. As Bain fled, he pointed a handgun at Champagne, who then tackled him to the ground. 

Television cameras captured Bain on video moments after the shooting, dressed in a bathrobe and ski mask, and being led away in handcuffs.

He infamously shouted, "The English are waking up!" before getting into a police cruiser.

Diane Blanchette, sister of murdered stagehand Denis Blanchette, and fellow stagehand Gael Ghiringhelli are seen at the Montreal courthouse following the verdict. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

The unsuccessful NCR defense 

Throughout the trial, Bain's lawyer, Alan Guttman, argued that he shouldn't be held criminally responsible for his actions, that he was suffering from a psychotic delusion at the time of the shooting. Bain told the jury he had had a vision of his dead mother earlier that day.

The 11 days the jury spent sequestered is among the longest deliberations in recent criminal cases in Canada. 

Guttman predicted, at one point, that with every additional day the jury spent deliberating, the better his client's chances were of being found not-criminally responsible.

But the contents of the envelope they delivered shortly after 5 p.m. ET held a different verdict. One juror was in tears as the foreman informed the court of the verdict.

Bain, 65, now faces a minimum sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole for at least 10 years. That can be extended to 25 years with no parole.

Denis Blanchette was shot outside the Metropolis concert hall on election night 2012 while the Parti Québécois celebrated its victory inside. (Facebook)

Bain 'happy' not 1st degree

Guttman said his client was pleased he was not convicted of first-degree murder.

"He's very happy because first-degree, at his age, it's a death sentence," he said.

Crown prosecutor Dennis Galiatsatos told reporters that he was "satisfied" with the verdict. 

"It was hard, but nothing like what the victims have been through," he said. 

During the trial, the defence suggested that Bain couldn't apply his understanding of right and wrong because he believed he was on a mission from God to protect Quebec's anglophones and kill the separatists.

However, Galiatsatos contended that Bain planned the shooting, driven by anger over the Parti Québécois victory and the fact that he wasn't able to vote.

Bain is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 6.

"The sentence will reflect the fact that on September 4th, 2012, Bain attacked those people, but also democracy," Galiatsatos said.

The defence will be asking for the minimum sentence of 10 years in prison before Bain is eligible to apply for parole.

Footage shows a man being led away by police after the Sept. 4, 2012 shooting outside Montreal's Metropolis nightclub. 0:56

About the Author

Jaela Bernstien is a national reporter based in Montreal. She's covered a wide range of news topics, ranging from criminal trials to ice age caves, and everything in between.