Intruder Ruled Not Responsible For Break-In At Premier’s Home
OTTAWA (AP) _ A 35-year-old convenience store clerk was found guilty Friday _ but not criminally responsible because of his mental condition _ of trying to murder Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
The verdict by Judge Paul Belanger means Andre Dallaire will remain at a group home outside Ottawa until a five-member panel assesses his mental condition and decides on further treatment.
Dallaire eluded Royal Canadian Mounted Police security officers last November and climbed a wall outside the prime minister’s official residence in Ottawa.
Armed with a pocket knife, he broke in through a side door and encountered Chretien’s wife, Aline, in a hallway outside her bedroom.
He was arrested without resistance and told police he intended to kill the prime minister because of the results of an Oct. 30 referendum in Quebec, narrowly lost by separatists seeking independence for the mostly French-speaking province.
During the non-jury trial, psychiatrists testified Dallaire is a paranoid schizophrenic who was following the instructions of inner voices. They say medication has since brought his symptoms under complete control.
Dallaire, 35, apologized to the Chretiens on Thursday.
The prosecution argued that Dallaire crossed the line toward a criminal action the moment he entered the grounds of the prime minister’s residence.
The defense argued Dallaire showed ambivalence throughout the incident _ waving at security cameras to see if he would be caught and wandering through the house for 20 minutes rather than going directly to his target.
Defense lawyer John Hale noted Dallaire did not attack Mrs. Chretien or try to push past her to reach the prime minister.
Dallaire has been living at a group home in the Ottawa area and sat among spectators at his trial. Neither Chretien nor his wife testified.