Suspect in Quebec City Halloween night stabbing case returns to court Nov. 20

The man charged in connection with the Halloween night sword attack in Quebec City appeared briefly before a judge Thursday and will see his case return to court in two weeks.

Carl Girouard, 24, appeared in a Quebec City courtroom by video link from the detention centre where he's been held since the weekend attacks that left two dead and five injured. Girouard, from the off-island Montreal suburb of Ste-Therese, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder.

His case was put off until Nov. 20, and before then the Crown is to disclose evidence to Girouard's lawyer, Benoit Labrecque. Prosecutor Francois Godin said about 80 per cent of the evidence should be disclosed by the next court date.

Quebec court Judge Rene de la Sablonniere granted Godin's request to lift the publication ban on the identities of four of the five victims who survived the attack. The ban on the fifth victim remains. The people killed were Francois Duchesne, 56, a museum employee, and Suzanne Clermont, 61, a hairdresser.

The four victims whose identities are public are Remy Belanger, Gilberto Porras, Lisa Mahmoud and Pierre Lagrevol. The latter two are friends and French nationals living in Quebec City.

Both wrote on social media about their experience, describing how they had gone out just after 10 p.m. on Halloween to take photos in the historic Petit Champlain district.

"Twenty-five minutes later, we were attacked near the Chateau Frontenac. We were on our way back home," Mahmoud recounted.

In his Facebook post, Lagrevol wrote about a "madman who attacked us, me and my best friend ... we managed to escape, but others were not so lucky."

Lagrevol said it was now time to recover physically and mentally, and he thanked friends for their support.

Girouard, who had a moustache and long brown hair, seemed to be listening intently through a headset during the brief court hearing. He replied in a clear voice when asked by the judge whether he understood what was going on.

A man dressed in a medieval costume and wielding a Japanese-style sword went on a rampage late Saturday night before being chased down on foot and arrested by police a few hours later.

Quebec City police chief Robert Pigeon told a news conference on Sunday the attacker allegedly swung a katana-like sword at randomly chosen victims "with the clear intention of taking as many victims as possible." Pigeon said the suspect had no known criminal record but said that during an unspecified "medical context,' about five years ago, the suspect had allegedly shared plans to commit a similar crime.

Godin told reporters outside the courtroom the presumption is Girouard is of sound mind, but he said the defence will be able to raise the issue of the suspect's mental health later in the proceedings.

"In the Criminal Code there is a presumption that people are deemed to be sane," Godin told reporters. "If ever Mr. Girouard intends to assert a defence to this effect, he will be able to do so at the appropriate time."

First-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years. In 2011, the Criminal Code was amended to allow the court to impose consecutive periods of parole ineligibility when there are multiple murder convictions.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 5, 2020. 

SIGN UP NOW

Stay up-to-date and in-the-know by subscribing to one of our newsletters