The Superior Court of Quebec states that the judge did not know that the defendant had a history of aggression when he allowed the handcuffs to be removed.
The judge presiding over a jury trial in the Montreal courthouse earlier this week, when a man accused of attempted murder assaulted two prison guards, was not informed of his potential for violence, the Quebec Superior Court said. in a statement issued Friday.
On Tuesday, the trial of a 41-year-old man, whose name cannot currently be released, was taking place in a third-floor courtroom when the two guards from the provincial prison sat on either side of him on the bench. of the prisoners were attacked. The defendant tried to flee the courtroom, but was detained by special agents.
Mathieu Lavoie, president of the Syndicat des agents de la paix en services correctionals du Québec, told the Journal de Montréal that the presiding judge, Superior Court Judge Alexandre Boucher, made an “inconceivable decision” by allowing the defendant’s wives to be withdrawn during the test. Lavoie said the defendant has a history of aggression and is considered dangerous.
According to a decision made by the Canadian Parole Board in 2018, the man has a long criminal history that includes convictions for assault and armed robbery. The decision also notes that the man acted “violently” in the past while serving a sentence in federal penitentiaries and provincial jails. In 2017, he ran away from a rehab center where he was ordered to reside and was arrested five days later for shoplifting.
It is standard procedure for a judge to allow a detained and prosecuted person to pursue their case without handcuffs, especially if they want to take notes.
According to the statement, Boucher never learned that the defendant was potentially dangerous.
“After listening to the recordings of the hearings on October 4 and 5, it turns out that the judge who presided over the trial was never informed of the degree of danger posed by the accused who attacked both guards. A judge’s decision to remove the handcuffs from the wrists of a defendant is based in part on the level of danger posed by the defendant, and it is those responsible for security who are in a position to inform the judges, ”the Court wrote in the statement. “Before making the decision to remove the defendant’s handcuffs, at the request of the defense, the judge asked the Crown and the prison officials present if they had any reservations about taking them off. They did not make any objection in this regard ”.
The prison guards union could not be reached for comment Friday night.
The 41-year-old man has not yet been charged in connection with the assaults on the guards. On Thursday, Boucher disbanded the jury that was supposed to hear the attempted murder trial, and the case was moved to November.
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