Quebec lawyers ask for more time to get details about 2012 threats against PQ leader

Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois is removed from the stage by SQ officers as she speaks to supporters in Montreal, Tuesday, September 4, 2012 following her election win. Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Lawyers for the Quebec government asked a court on Monday for more time to unearth details about six threats allegedly made against former Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois on the day of the 2012 Quebec provincial election.

A civil trial has heard that in the hours before the election-night shooting that left one dead and one injured, six threats were made against the PQ leader. Information about the threats was contained in a provincial police document that had been shielded from public view until recently.

A Quebec Superior Court is hearing a lawsuit brought by four stagehands who were working at the downtown venue where Marois gave her victory speech on Sept. 4, 2012.

A gunman shot dead lighting technician Denis Blanchette outside the venue, and a second technician, David Courage, was injured after being struck by the same bullet that killed his colleague.

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The plaintiffs allege the police didn’t do enough to evaluate the risks associated with the event and that there were no police stationed outside the back door of the venue or at other key areas.

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They say they suffered post-traumatic stress and other psychological damage due to the shooting. They are suing the City of Montreal and Quebec’s attorney general for a total of more than $600,000.

Last week, Justice Philippe Bélanger asked government lawyers to provide information about the threats after none of the witnesses was able to give details, including the nature of the threats and who investigated them.

The witnesses said, however, that none of the threats involved Richard Henry Bain, who was convicted in 2016 on one count of second-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder for the shooting and arson outside the Metropolis concert venue.

On Monday, government lawyer Julien Bernard told the court his team needed more time to interview witnesses and find officers who probed the threats.

“Unfortunately, we have not found a document to answer your questions,” Bernard told the judge, adding that many officers have retired in the decade since the 2012 election and will need to be located.

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Lawyer Virginie Dufresne-Lemire, who represents the four stagehands, said she found it “astonishing” that details of the six threats don’t exist.

The trial will resume on May 9.

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