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The Globe and Mail

Accused in Quebec election shooting wants donations to fight sovereignists

Richard Henry Bain arrives at court in Montreal on Thursday, September 6, 2012.

Jacques Nadeau/The Canadian Press

Declaring himself "75 per cent fit" to stand trial, the accused in Quebec's election-night shooting called on the public Friday to start a website on his behalf to help raise money to fight the "separatist government."

Richard Henry Bain's appearances in court have been marked by unusual tirades and preaching from the prisoner's dock – and Friday's was no different. At one point, Mr. Bain addressed courthouse sketch artists feverishly drawing from the media bench. "Could you please put a smile on my face this time? I do smile," Mr. Bain said.

Mr. Bain faces 16 charges, including first-degree murder, attempted murder, arson and weapons violations, related to an attack at a Montreal club where the Parti Québécois was celebrating its election victory last Sept. 4.

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Stagehand Denis Blanchette was killed and another worker was wounded in the incident, which occurred near where Premier Pauline Marois was speaking. Ms. Marois has said she believes the shooting was an attempt on her life.

Mr. Bain asked for the public's help Friday and said he's flat broke. "I need someone to open me a website so I can raise money to fight the separatist government," Mr. Bain said.

A report on his psychiatric state was not discussed in the courtroom Friday because it needed to be translated, but Mr. Bain said it declares him "75 per cent fit to stand trial."

"I'm three-quarters fit, 75 per cent fit, and yet a provincial province can separate from Canada with a 50 per cent plus one vote according to [NDP Leader] Thomas Mulcair," Mr. Bain told the court.

Language, which has been a recurring theme in Mr. Bain's court proceedings, featured once again Friday. Mr. Bain had previously balked at an initial attempt to evaluate him, refusing to co-operate with a French-speaking psychiatrist last month. Mr. Bain then got access to a psychiatrist who spoke English but the report that was to be submitted to the court on Friday was written in French. The accused asked for it to be translated into English. The request, which was granted by Quebec court Judge Jean-Paul Braun, led to the case being put over until next Friday.

Mr. Bain's lawyer, Elfriede Duclervil, has tried unsuccessfully to be removed from the case. A December decision stated that Mr. Bain did not qualify for legal aid. The judge said Friday he would suspend her motion to withdraw from the case.

Asked if she could use one word to describe her time representing Mr. Bain, Ms .Duclervil was quick to respond.

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"Exceptional," she said.

"You saw Mr. Bain in court," Mr. Duclervil said outside the courtroom. "When he needs to talk he does talk, he says what he wants to say.

"The judge allowed him to talk and he has the right to address the judge, he has the right to communicate and he's doing it."

She had no comment on Mr. Bain's mental state, but noted that his frequent calls to the media – including a French-language interview this week – have created problems for her in planning a defence.

"Every lawyer's wish would be for his or her client to remain silent, of course," Ms. Duclervil said.

Mr. Bain also complained that the warden at the Rivière-des-Prairies detention centre in Montreal was trying to place him in a wing with the general population and that his safety was being compromised.

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Mr. Bain has alleged that he was attacked before a court appearance in October, when he arrived in court with a pair of fresh scrapes atop his bald scalp. He'd claimed a guard had pushed him.

Judge Braun said he'd recommend that Mr. Bain remain in a secure wing at the detention centre.

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