Richard Henry Bain suffering from bipolar disorder after arrest: psychiatrist

Richard Henry Bain suffering from bipolar disorder after arrest: psychiatrist

MONTREAL — A psychiatrist who met with alleged murderer Richard Henry Bain nearly two weeks after his arrest in 2012 says it’s clear to her he was in a manic state brought on by bipolar disorder.

Marie-Frédérique Allard took the stand Wednesday for the defence at Bain’s first-degree murder trial.

Bain, 65, has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, three counts of attempted murder and two arson-related charges in connection with a shooting on Sept. 4, 2012, the night the Parti Québecois won the provincial election.

Lighting technician Denis Blanchette was killed and fellow stagehand David Courage seriously injured after they were both struck by the same bullet outside the club where then-PQ leader Pauline Marois was delivering a speech.

The Crown has argued the crime was premeditated and politically motivated, while the defence has countered Bain should be held not criminally responsible by way of mental disorder.

The accused has testified he took as many as nine anti-depressants the day and evening of the shooting.

Allard, a forensic psychiatrist, said Bain’s then-lawyer asked her to meet with the accused at a detention centre on Sept. 18, 2012, to evaluate his mental state.

She testified she met Bain once more that year and then again only earlier this year as she prepared a report for the current trial. She said she is convinced he is not the same person he was four years ago.

Bain is now more calm, less irritable and has more organized thoughts than in 2012, Allard said.

“He was clearly psychotic with symptoms of mania,” she told the jury of the initial meeting.

Allard called that encounter “difficult” as Bain was at times irritable, angry and arrogant.

He wouldn’t speak much about the night of the shooting, mostly referring to dissatisfaction with his attorney, complaining about his detention conditions and alleging he was the victim of persecution.

Allard said he also didn’t seem particularly preoccupied by the fact he was facing the most serious charge in the Criminal Code.

She testified he told her he was doing God’s work.

“Whatever I’m doing is sanctioned by him,” Allard quoted Bain as telling her before he reportedly said, “my God will judge me.”

Allard testified it was clear to her following the three-hour session that Bain was psychotic but that it was impossible to say how long he’d been in a manic state.

She believes Bain was likely fragile at the time of the shooting, but reports of strange behaviour exhibited in the days leading up to Sept. 4, 2012, were not enough for her to make a diagnosis.

Allard did say it’s not unusual for a manic episode to last many weeks or months.

“I didn’t know when the episode started, but I knew on the 18th, Mr. Bain was experiencing psychosis and this psychosis was related to bipolar disorder,” she said.

Allard said she called his treating psychiatrist to take him off the anti-depressants. Manic patients need to stop anti-depressants for a time and go on anti-psychotic or mood-stabilizing medication like lithium, she said.

She said that should have been the case in 2009, when Bain was showing classic signs of a manic episode while taking the anti-depressant Cymbalta — spending excessively, having paranoid thoughts about a bird-flu disaster and ending a 20-year relationship with his girlfriend. Instead, his personal physician prescribed a different anti-depressant.

“In my opinion, the case should have been referred to a psychiatrist,” Allard said.

She testified that 50 per cent of people suffering from bipolar disorder will present psychotic symptoms at some point in their lifetime, but simply being bipolar doesn’t mean a risk of violence.

In a follow-up meeting in November 2012, Bain was reluctant to answer Allard verbally, choosing to write answers. He was also convinced he’d be set free to bring about his vision of peace for Quebec.

Her opinion in 2012 was that Bain was unfit to stand trial, but the report was never filed in court.

Allard’s testimony continues Thursday.

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

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