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Man charged on 30th anniversary of École Polytechnique shooting to remain behind bars

Detective Line Lemay of the Montreal police hate crimes unit talks to reporters
ABOVE: Detective Line Lemay of the Montreal police hate crimes unit discusses the increase of hate crimes in the city. She spoke to reporters on the heels of the arrest of Jean-Claude Rocherfort, a 70-year-old man who was charged with inciting hatred against women on the 30th anniversary of the École Polytechnique shooting.

The 70-year-old man who was arrested on allegations of uttering threats and inciting hatred against women on the 30th anniversary of the École Polytechnique shooting was deemed fit to appear in court on Tuesday.

Jean-Claude Rocherfort underwent a brief psycho-social assessment at the request of his lawyer.

“The result was positive,” said defence attorney Marc-Olivier Carrier.

“It’s a serious charge but he is confident he will be released.”

READ MORE: Montreal police arrest man who allegedly glorified École Polytechnique shooter in blog posts

Rocherfort is an anti-feminist blogger who was arrested at his home in Montreal’s Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough on Friday.

Montreal police’s cyber investigative team tracked him down after someone contacted police over what was described as “worrying posts.”

Officers seized several computer files that will be used as evidence.

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Rochefort’s bail hearing is scheduled for Dec. 12, when the crown prosecutor intends to contest his release over the chances he could re-offend.

Canada’s failure to end violence against women
Canada’s failure to end violence against women

“There’s going to be a witness, there’s going be all the evidence that I will show to the court, so it’s going to be a little bit longer than a regular bail hearing,” said prosecutor Josiane Laplante.

According to police, Rochefort used an alias and published several blog posts glorifying Marc Lépine, the man who shot and killed 14 women on Dec. 6, 1989 before taking his own life.

Rochefort was arrested 10 years ago, on the 20th anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre and charged with uttering threats towards women. He served 50 weeks behind bars in that case while awaiting his trial and eventually sentenced to community service.

READ MORE: Have headlines on violence against women changed in 30 years?

Of the 200 hate crimes investigated by Montreal police since the beginning of the year, 45 were committed online.

“Do we have an increase? We cannot say right now because didn’t used to compile those types of crimes,” said Lt.-Det. Line Lemay of the SPVM’s Hate Crimes Unit.

“But now we know for this year and we’re going to look at that for the next years.”

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Montreal police encourage people to report any hate crimes they spot online, since officers don’t have the resources to actively search for them. Police define a hate crime as threats against a specific group or person belonging to a group.

“If the person is targeted because it’s a woman or because the person is gay or because the person has different ethnic origin, it can become a hate crime” said Lemay.

“When you feel that your sense of safety is affected, just report it to the police.”

30 years since École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal
30 years since École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal