Prosecutors seek to keep Montreal man on crusade against COVID-19 measures behind bars

Prosecutors are asking the court to detain a Montreal man who is on a crusade against the Quebec government’s COVID-19 measures.

Francois Amalega-Bitondo returned to court Tuesday after he was arrested Sunday night while demonstrating outside the Radio-Canada building where Premier Francois Legault was giving an interview.

Amalega-Bitondo is accused of breaching a court order preventing him from being within 300 metres of the premier, following an earlier arrest.

What should have been a standard bail hearing quickly turned to chaos when he launched into a conspiracy-filled rant on a video link from jail.

Justice Guylaine Rivest was trying to ask him if he wanted to be represented by a lawyer.

“Francois Legault is a an outlaw,” he shouted. “And there’s not a judge or a lawyer who will tell me otherwise.”

The judge reminded Amalega-Bitondo that this was not his trial, and certainly not the premier’s, and that she simply wanted to ensure he would receive sound judicial advice. A legal aid lawyer offered him help, which, but defendant declined.

“I’d rather work with my naive ways and my heart” he said, though he accepted a 24-hour postponement to think it over.

Amalega-Bitondo, a former CEGEP teacher, has been front and centre in the protest movement against government public health measures and against the vaccine, demonstrating outside stores, schools, and even hospitals, which was prohibited by the government in the fall.

He has so far accumulated $60,000 worth of fines for breaking COVID-19 rules – fines he has claimed he will never pay.

Amalega-Bitondo is currently on probation after he was jailed in September for obstructing police in a similar case.

This time, the prosecution is asking that he remain behind bars until his trial, because it claims he can’t be trusted to respect his bail conditions

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