Alleged Quebec election-night shooter Richard Henry Bain was likely psychotic and wasn't able to stop himself the night a man was shot and killed outside a Parti Québécois gathering in 2012, a forensic psychiatrist testified Thursday.
Marie-Frédérique Allard told his first-degree murder trial that Mr. Bain sincerely believed he was given a mission from God and "had no choice but to accomplish it."
Dr. Allard, an expert testifying for the defence, first interviewed Mr. Bain two weeks after the shooting that left one man dead and another seriously injured.
She said that while he was "more likely than not" psychotic on election night Sept. 4, 2012, Dr. Allard was certain Mr. Bain was suffering from psychosis when she assessed him on Sept. 18 and again in early November 2012.
Dr. Allard added there was a "great probability" Mr. Bain was also suffering from a bipolar disorder the night of the shooting.
She said his psychotic state could have been triggered by the antidepressant medication he had been taking.
Dr. Allard said the accused told her he had taken as many as 10 pills of Cymbalta – an antidepressant – on Sept. 4.
Mr. Bain, 65, has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, three counts of attempted murder and two arson-related charges in connection with a shooting on Sept. 4, 2012, when the Parti Québécois won the provincial election.
Lighting technician Denis Blanchette was killed and fellow stagehand David Courage seriously injured after they were both struck by the same bullet outside the Metropolis nightclub where then-PQ leader Pauline Marois was delivering a speech.
The Crown has argued the crime was premeditated and politically motivated, while the defence has countered Mr. Bain should be held not criminally responsible by way of mental disorder.
Defence lawyer Alan Guttman asked Dr. Allard whether she thought Mr. Bain was able to control himself that night.
"I don't think so," she said. "For him, he had received this mission from God. I don't believe he could have stopped himself. When you have delusions you are unshakable."
The court has heard testimony that the gun Mr. Bain allegedly used to shoot Mr. Blanchette had jammed and during an interview, Mr. Bain told her "my Christ jammed the gun."
Dr. Allard said Mr. Bain interpreted his rifle jamming as a signal from God that his mission was over.
She also testified she didn't believe Mr. Bain's alleged crimes were politically motivated.
The jury has heard that Mr. Bain was upset after being told he couldn't vote at a particular polling office and recordings from Mr. Bain saying he wanted to end the turmoil in Quebec he blamed on "separatists."
According to Dr. Allard, if Mr. Bain acted out for political reasons, "they were part of a delusion."
Dr. Allard said Mr. Bain told her he'd seen a vision of his dead mother the day of the shooting and believed God had chosen him to carry out a special mission.
Mr. Bain told Dr. Allard during a Nov. 9, 2012, interview that he wanted to set fire to the venue and "kill as many separatists as possible" and added "if I saw Marois inside, I would have shot her."
Mr. Bain also told Dr. Allard during the same interview he purposefully shot at people, contradicting earlier statements claiming he was trying to shoot over their heads.
Dr. Allard was asked to assess Mr. Bain again in February, 2016, and when confronted with these statements, the accused was "very, very surprised" that he'd told her in 2012 he deliberately wanted to kill people.
Mr. Bain added that he had no more memories of the night of the shooting.
Dr. Allard's testimony continues Friday.