Saber attack on Old Quebec | Judge warns jury of ‘significant danger’

(Quebec) The trial of the Old Quebec saber killer is concluding and Judge Richard Grenier has begun briefing the jury in this highly complex case, in which issues of mental health and criminal responsibility are intertwined.

Posted at 12:27pm
Updated at 4:08 p.m

Gabriel Beland

Gabriel Beland
The press

“In that case, you are in significant danger,” the Superior Court judge warned the 11-person jury, one of whom was disqualified after contracting COVID-19.

“It is extremely dangerous when a thesis is based on facts that we are not sure about, facts that are not very, very strong and on which we have built a house of cards,” the magistrate warned.

“I’m not alluding to one or the other thesis, I have no opinion to say. »

The jury will have to decide several legal issues. The central question is: Carl Girouard, 26, did he suffer from any mental disorders at the time of the crime and if so, is he criminally responsible?

If the jury finds him responsible, they must decide the nature of the murders. Is it first-degree murder, as prosecutors claim, or second-degree murder, or even negligent homicide?

Girouard is also charged with five attempted murders. He admitted during his testimony that he wanted to kill and was disappointed not to finish off the first bystander he attacked.

Since the beginning of the more than four-week trial, the defendant has admitted to being the author of the October 31, 2020 murder. That night, he took advantage of Halloween, dressed all in black, to attack innocent people with a katana.

The defense argues that the killer was in a state of psychosis and suffered from schizophrenia. Rather, prosecutors believe the killer knew what he was doing that night and for years harbored a malicious fantasy of revenge against a society to which he did not belong.

The jury must therefore weigh the testimonies of the prosecution and defense experts, who have come up with conflicting diagnoses. A Crown-appointed psychiatrist and neuropsychologist concluded that the killer was not psychotic, while a psychiatrist testifying for the defense claimed the opposite.

“You have to assess the reliability and credibility of the witnesses,” Judge Grenier said.

The magistrate decided to complete his instructions to the jury on Monday so as not to have to isolate them at the end of the week. “It must be sunny this weekend,” the judge generously remarked.

The jury will therefore begin its deliberations on Monday. Remember that Carl Girouard is charged with two first-degree murders and five attempted murders.

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