Legal process moves forward in double murder case
THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/FACEBOOK
The trial of murder suspects Richard Hunt (abover) and Mélanie Binette moved one step forward following their September 17 court appearance where they were permitted to meet together with their lawyers.
Les Cèdres resident Richard Hunt and Mélanie Binette of Côteau-du-Lac, both accused of a double murder in Vaudreuil-Dorion that occurred December 1, 2016, appeared in the Valleyfield Courthouse Monday, September 17 as their case moves toward.
There were two issues brought to the attention of Judge Johanne St-Gelais by the defense. As described by their legal counsellors, Hunt and Binette are currently incarcerated in separate facilities making it impossible for their lawyers to meet with them together. The judge inquired as to whether or not secure facilities were available in the courthouse where the accused could meet with their lawyers and be kept separated at the same time. The judge was informed by courthouse security that it was not the case. In the end, the courtroom was cleared permitting the lawyers and their clients to hold their meeting in confidentiality and security.
Language of trial
There was also discussion as to whether the trial would be held in French or English. At issue was the fact that one of the defense lawyers said he was not entirely comfortable in English and unilingual witnesses might not understand the proceedings in one of the languages. The judge pointed out that the legal process was usually conducted in the language of the accused, in this case, both languages. Prosecution and defense agreed to a hearing in Montreal on Monday, October 15 to resolve the language issue.
December 2016 events
Hunt and Binette are accused in the shooting deaths of 45-year-old Joseph Fluet and 38-year-old Steven Lamarsh on December 1, 2016 as reported in The Journal, December 6, 2016. The double murder took place in a wooded area on Montée Alstonvale near the corner of Moffat Street. Police responded to a call of a man in critical condition found in that area who was pronounced dead after being transported to hospital. A second man was found in the same area later in the day in critical condition from gunshot wounds. He was also pronounced dead in hospital.
Various media reports have linked both victims to the Rock Machine motorcycle gang. However, police did not confirm this information at the time saying only there was a connection to organized crime. Hunt and Binette face two charges under Section 235 of the Canadian Criminal Code – first-degree murder and murder using a prohibited firearm. If convicted, the pair could face the maximum sentence for first-degree murder of life in prison. The trial is set to take place in March, 2019.