MONTREAL — Richard Henry Bain was upset the day the Parti Quebecois went on to win the 2012 election, the Crown said Thursday as it outlined its case against the man charged with murder that night.
Bain, 65, was unable to vote earlier in the day because of an address problem, prosecutor Dennis Galiatsatos told the jury as Bain’s first-degree murder trial began.
Hours later, the accused was listening to the radio in his vehicle when he learned then-PQ leader Pauline Marois would be Quebec’s new premier, he said.
Galiatsatos said Bain parked his car in a lot outside the Metropolis club where PQ members were inside celebrating.
“At 11:40 p.m., as Marois took the stage … Bain parked his vehicle, a black, GMC Yukon SUV, put on a ski mask, a bathrobe and took a loaded, semi-automatic gun, a pistol, as well as an extra magazine clip and a flare,” he told the court.
The accused then walked up to several people outside the back entrance of the venue and fired the semi-automatic once before it jammed, Galiatsatos said.
The one bullet struck and killed lighting technician Denis Blanchette, Galiatsatos said, before exiting his body and hitting another employee, stagehand David Courage, who survived.
As people ran away, Bain put fuel on the backstage stairs and door and lit his flare, setting a fire, Galiatsatos said.
Bain, according to the prosecutor, then pointed a handgun at a police officer but was unable to get a shot off before he was tackled and arrested.
The Crown told the jury that as Bain was being arrested he yelled: “The English are waking up!”
Before Galiatsatos gave his opening remarks, the accused pleaded not guilty again to all six counts: first-degree murder three counts of attempted murder and two fire-related offences.
Galiatsatos said he would prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Bain is responsible for Blanchette’s death and is also guilty on the five other charges.
The Crown intends to call up to 50 witnesses, including police officers, civilians and experts.
One of the most eagerly awaited witnesses will be Courage, who was seriously injured in the back and hip by the bullet that killed Blanchette.
Another witness will be an election official who told Bain he couldn’t vote, which allegedly made him angry.
The first Crown witness was police investigator Guillaume Vezeau, who described many of the photos taken of the crime scene as well as images of 3-D recreations of the area outside the Metropolis.
Vezeau went through photos taken of items seized on Bain and in his car the night of the shooting.
The officer said Bain was carrying a CZ 858 semi-automatic tactical rifle and he showed photos of the jammed weapon.
Bain was also carrying an extra magazine loaded with 29 bullets, said Vezeau, adding Bain had a separate handgun, a pocket knife and a road flare.
Vezeau also showed photos of the front seat of Bain’s alleged vehicle, where another two handguns and another magazine clip were located.
Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer took roughly one hour to read instructions to the jurors. Although all 14 will hear the evidence, only 12 will decide Bain’s fate.
The trial is expected to last between six and eight weeks.
The accused sat in the witness box Thursday wearing a cream-coloured neck brace following recent surgery.
Bain’s lawyer, Alan Guttman, told reporters his client was doing OK after the surgery.
He wouldn’t comment on the Crown’s initial witness or say whether the evidence against the accused was overwhelming.
“It’s not over until it’s over,” Guttman said.