Jury begins deliberations in Quebec City sword attacker murder trial

·2 min read
The murder trial of Carl Girouard is coming to an end as the jury is sent off to deliberate. (Illustration by Hbé - image credit)
The murder trial of Carl Girouard is coming to an end as the jury is sent off to deliberate. (Illustration by Hbé - image credit)

The fate of Carl Girouard, the 26-year-old man charged in the Quebec City sword attacks of 2020, is now in the hands of the jury, which was sequestered and sent off to deliberate Monday morning.

In his instructions, Quebec Superior Court Justice Richard Grenier reminded the jurors of their oath to base their decision purely on the evidence and facts presented during the trial, and to remain impartial and independent.

"This decision is yours entirely," he told the jury. "Your verdict has to be founded on your evaluation of the evidence and your common wisdom."

Girouard is facing two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder after he killed two people and attacked five more with a sword on Oct. 31, 2020.

Girouard has admitted to carrying out the attacks, but his defence team argues he cannot be held criminally responsible for his actions because he was delusional at the time and could not differentiate right from wrong.

The 11 jurors will have to unanimously decide whether they agree with that evaluation of Girouard or believe the Crown's version, which is that Girouard was conscious of his actions and had been planning the attacks for a long time.

Dave St-Amant/CBC
Dave St-Amant/CBC

Both sides presented witness experts to help make their cases.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Gilles Chamberland testified for the defence that Girouard was delusional and in psychosis at the time of the attacks.

Chamberland said Girouard showed symptoms of schizophrenia and autism from a young age, such as having a fragmented way of thinking and lacking communication and social skills.

The Crown's expert witnesses , neuropsychologist Dr. William Pothier and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Sylvain Faucher, both testified that Girouard has a hypervigilant narcissistic personality and was motivated by a desire to be recognized.

The two Crown experts said Girouard could not have been in psychosis because he showed no symptoms of delusion during and after the events.

If the jury finds Girouard criminally responsible, they will have to determine whether he is guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, or manslaughter for the two people he killed, and whether he is guilty of attempted murder or aggravated assault for the five people he attacked.