Protesters, smoke bomb suspect appear in court
Published Wednesday, May 23, 2012 8:59PM EDT
MONTREAL - Six people were charged with criminal acts at the Montreal courthouse Wednesday following mass arrests at Tuesday night's downtown protests.
Of the six – who face charges of mischief and assault towards a police officer – three were juveniles who were released with a promise to appear at a date determined by the court.
The remaining three appeared in court and were detained.
Repeating the chants of the past 100 days of protests against the Charest government, demonstrators and police exchanged rocks and tear gas, as over 1,000 took to the streets.
The protest turned violent after two hours of peaceful marching, at which point Montreal police said about 20 people were arrested for mischief and armed aggression towards officers.
Group arrests were made at several locations near McGill University, in the downtown core, and throughout the Latin Quarter.
Montreal police also confirmed that one protester was struck by a car during the chaos, however they could not confirm the extent of the injuries (see video below).
As many as six people were taken to hospital.
Smoke bomb suspect in court
Meantime, one of the suspects in the metro station smoke bomb attack also appear in court Wednesday for a bail hearing.
Twenty-two-year-old UQAM sociology student Francois Vivier-Gagnon appeared before a judge while his lawyers argued for his release.
Gagnon faces charges of perpetrating a terrorist hoax; mischief of more than $5,000; conspiracy to commit mischief and possession of a prohibited weapon.
Details of the hearing cannot be reported due to a publication ban.
Vivier-Gagnon has been detained since May 11, after turning himself in to police, along with three other suspects.
The three women arrested with him were released last week after $3000 bail was posted for each one and a $7000 non-deposit bond was agreed to and signed by a parent.
Roxanne Belisle, 23, Vanessa L'Ecuyer, 22, and Sarah Vaillancourt, 25, were released into the custody of a parent.
The trio must remain indoors between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless they are with their parents. They are not allowed to attend a violent protest, nor wear masks.
The four are accused of tossing smoke bombs into various metro stations, shutting down service during the morning rush hour and prompting a mass evacuation of the transit system.
Vivier-Gagnon also faces a weapons charge after police reportedly found a knife with his goods.
Crown prosecutor Steeve Lariviere maintains Gagnon should not receive bail.
"Well, the accused has a pending file. It's his burden at this point to convince the court that he doesn't represent a danger to society if he's released on bail," said Lariviere.
Defence attorney Veronique Robert feels Vivier-Gagnon's detention is unnecessary, but explained why the burden of proof is on the defence.
"When there's a pending case, as is the case for Vivier-Gagnon, there's a reversal in the burden of proof in whether bail is granted. The burden of proof doesn't lie with the Crown, but rather the defence."
The judge will announce if Vivier-Gagnon gets bail at 10:30 Thursday morning at the Montreal court house.