With a gash on his forehead and his right arm in a cast, the man charged with a dozen counts of assault following last week’s attacks at a West End apartment building made his first appearance in court.
Jerome Bonneric, a 33-year-old French national with Canadian residency, seemed dazed as he entered the prisoner’s box of Vancouver Provincial Court on Monday, his eyes wide as they scanned the gallery. Clad in red prisoner’s garb, Mr. Bonneric bore the marks of injuries his lawyer would later confirm as having been sustained during his arrest last Thursday.
The accused is charged with four counts of aggravated assault, four counts of assault with a weapon, three counts of common assault and one of assaulting a police officer. He has been remanded into custody until his next court appearance, on Thursday, when it is expected Crown counsel will ask for a 30-day psychiatric assessment. Mr. Bonneric was not previously known to police. Bob Bellows, Mr. Bonneric’s lawyer, said his client is “incredibly despondent and depressed and horribly saddened by what’s occurred.” He said his client has mental-health issues and was at St. Paul’s Hospital within days before the attack, although he could not clarify why.
Dave Lefebvre, a spokesman for Providence Health Care, confirmed the accused had visited St. Paul’s Hospital but could not provide more details, citing patient confidentiality.
French deputy consul Christopher Alemelama was at Mr. Bonneric’s court appearance on Monday to witness the proceedings and ensure Mr. Bonneric is in good condition and has a fair trial. It is too early to determine whether Mr. Bonneric will be returned to France, Mr. Alemelama said.
Mr. Bonneric does not have family in Canada, according to his lawyer.
Seven people – along with one responding police officer – were injured in the apparently random attack at the Westpoint Terrace apartment building on Barclay Street.
Lynn Gillon, who lives on the ground floor with her husband, told The Globe and Mail she suffered cuts, bruises and a broken wrist when a man slammed her into a wall and began hitting her with what she believes was a hammer. Her 64-year-old husband, Neil, came to her aid and the man knocked him unconscious, Ms. Gillon said.
She described the suspect as having “dark facial hair and crazy eyes.”
Mr. Bonneric had been staying with a friend at the apartment, Vancouver Police Sergeant Randy Fincham said. For investigative reasons, he would not comment on reports of a hammer being used, or whether the accused’s friend was injured.
According to several online profiles such as LinkedIn and Facebook pages, Mr. Bonneric worked as a real estate consultant in Paris before moving to Vancouver and working at a gourmet bakery in Port Coquitlam in the spring of 2011. He is believed to have left that job in December, 2012.
A bakery employee who did not give his name said Mr. Bonneric was “a nice guy.” His former boss, Olivier Audibert, has been reported as saying he had no problems with the accused’s work performance.
Of the two women who remained in hospital on Monday, one is in critical condition, Sgt. Fincham said.