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Trial for man charged in Quebec election-night shooting set for 2015

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

MONTREAL - The Crown prosecutor at the trial of the man charged in Quebec's election-night shooting in 2012 said Wednesday she has no plans to call Pauline Marois to testify but didn't rule out the defence asking the premier to take the stand.

"That's a possibility," Eliane Perreault told reporters outside the courtroom after the latest hearing in the case of Richard Henry Bain.

Bain, who was not present for Wednesday's proceeding, is expected to stand trial in January 2015.

He is charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder after an attack at a Montreal club in September 2012 as the premier celebrated her Parti Quebecois' election victory.

Perreault is expected to call 42 trial witnesses and she said Wednesday she should be able to present her evidence over a 10-week period.

Perreault indicated that Marois is not one of the witnesses on her list, but she did not rule out the possibility that the Quebec premier could be called by the defence.

It's still unclear whether Bain will have a lawyer when the trial does get going.

Bain wants to be defended by a lawyer who would be paid by the state. He has been ruled ineligible for legal aid and has tried to represent himself.

"It's obvious, before having to pay the fees of Mr. Bain, we want to be sure he doesn't have any money to pay, with what he owns right now," Perreault said.

She said if Bain's request is rejected, and the accused refuses to retain the services of lawyer at his own costs, the judge can resort to using a "friend of the court" — a lawyer who would provide assistance.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Marc David said Thursday he will soon name a trial judge who will rule on the lawyer issue.

Perreault suggested that the accused may be able to act as his own defence during the trial.

"The proof is not difficult," she said. "It's long, it's lengthy, but it's not very complex evidence. I think Mr. Bain is able to defend himself in that kind of file, but it's a very lengthy one and that's the criteria the judge will have to consider."

Perreault said Bain's trial will happen in January 2015 — "with or without a lawyer — that's what I understand from the judge."

She added that the Crown is expected to take eight weeks to present its evidence, while the defence has said that it needs two weeks.

"For now, the judge asked us to block four months in our agenda in 2015 from January to April."

The next legal proceedings are scheduled for Feb. 5.

The prosecutor also indicated that the case could be split in two to separately treat accusations that involve events which occurred in the Laurentians where Bain had a hunting and fishing lodge. Those charges would involve the possession and storage of firearms.

Lighting technician Denis Blanchette was killed and colleague David Courage was wounded as they stood near a doorway to the downtown Metropolis nightclub where Marois was giving her victory speech.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/the-canadian-press/131211/trial-man-charged-quebec-election-night-shooting-set-2015