Jury begins deliberations in Quebec City swordsman murder trial

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

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

“That decision is entirely up to you,” he told the jury. “Your verdict must be based on your assessment of the evidence and your common wisdom.”

Girouard faces two counts of first degree murder and five counts of attempted murder after killing two people and attacking five others with a sword on October 31, 2020.

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

The 11 jurors will have to decide unanimously whether they agree with this assessment of Girouard or believe the version of the Crown, namely that Girouard was aware of his actions and planned the attacks for a long time.

Crown prosecutor François Godin, left, and Girouard’s lawyer, Pierre Gagnon, right, delivered their closing arguments last Wednesday. (Dave St-Amant/CBC)

Both sides presented expert witnesses to help make their case.

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

Chamberland said Girouard showed symptoms of schizophrenia and autism from an early age, such as a fragmented way of thinking and a lack of communication and social skills.

The Crown’s expert witnesses, neuropsychologist Dr. William Pothier and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Sylvain Faucher, both testified that Girouard had a hypervigilant narcissistic personality and was driven by a desire for recognition.

The two Crown experts said Girouard could not be in psychosis as 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.