Judge suprises legal experts by denying bail to student protester
Some legal experts are questioning a municipal court judge’s refusal to grant bail to a student protester.
Student activist Hamza Babou faces 14 charges, including assault, mischief, harassment, unlawful assembly after he took part in a protest at UQAM last week.
Babou allegedly sprayed a security guard with silly string, leading to the assault charge.
No one was hurt in the melee.
Though it is a serious charge, those accused of second-degree murder are often released on bail. Even Guy Turcotte, the doctor who admitted to repeatedly stabbing his children to death, has been granted bail.
Justice Denis Laberge denied bail to Babou Tuesday, who has now been behind bars for a week.
Babou's lawyer was critical of the ruling, saying it sound like a political judgment.
While others in the legal field won't go that far, they're also asking questions.
“I was very surprised,” said attorney Eric Sutton. “It's almost a given that someone who has no record, who is charged with a summary conviction offence, it's almost unheard of that they not be granted bail.”
Bail is usually denied for one of a few reasons, for example if the suspect is a risk of not showing up to court, or if they are a threat to reoffend.
In more serious cases, a judge can deny bail if he or she feels releasing the person could undermine the public's confidence in the legal system.
That was Laberge’s reasoning in this case.
“That's known as the third ground. It's only sparingly used and used for particularly alarming cases,” said Sutton.
Babou’s next court date is April 29.