West Island resident Alain Furlano appeared in a Montreal courtroom Thursday morning for his bail hearing, after being arrested for trying to bring sandbags to a flooded part of Pierrefonds-Roxboro.
Furlano was charged with obstruction of justice, after allegedly failing to heed the instructions of an official who told him he wasn’t allowed to fix the dike.
Upon entering the courtroom Thursday, Furlano immediately asked to be released.
He said it was unfair that he’s been detained for trying to help his fellow neighbors during the crisis. Furlano, who refused to be represented by a lawyer, repeatedly interrupted the judge during the hearing.
The prosecutor read out the conditions under which Furlano could be released on bail.
Furlano would have to stay away from Montreal police, firefighters and the Canadian armed forces during their operations in the flood zone.
He would also have to keep the peace, and, unless accompanied by a police officer, remain outside a zone bounded by Rivière des Prairies to the North, Gouin Boulevard to the South, Sources Boulevard to the West and 4 Avenue to the East.
Furlano said he was willing to accept these conditions for his release, but insisted that he was doing so under threat.
The judge said he could not allow Furlano to accept conditions if he claimed to be doing so under threat of coercion.
The hearing continued Thursday afternoon, at which point Furlano agreed to speak with a public defender who explained his rights.
He subsequently agreed to the conditions to stay outside the flood zone.
Furlano is now out on bail and will be back in court June 7 to determine when the conditions will be removed.
The judge, in his concluding remarks explained that it doesn’t matter if Furlano wants to help his neighbors during the crisis. As a citizen, he must obey the law – a responsibility that takes precedence over his perceived sense of what is right and wrong.
WATCH BELOW: Residents affected by the intense Quebec floods in Montreal’s Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough are angry, saying they’ve been abandoned by the city.
The case reflects the heightened tensions seen during the historic flooding that has attracted national attention.
Mayor Denis Coderre has said that Montreal’s state of emergency seeks to protect people from themselves. At these times, Montrealers have to follow proper channels if they want to be of assistance, he noted.
The federal government has committed $1 million to help with the crisis. The province of Quebec has committed $500,000 and the City of Montreal has pledged $250,000 to date.