Dec 3, 2018

Longueuil man involved in police chase that injured woman is denied bail

Sébastien Théodore is charged with dangerous driving, criminal negligence and dangerous driving during a police chase.
Sébastien Théodore, 40, had posted videos online saying he doesn't respect any municipal or provincial police force.

November 27, 2018

In early July 2018, Sébastien Théodore took to his Facebook page to post a video to his friends and followers.

In rambling sentences, Théodore explained how, to him, all provincial and municipal authority figures are “de-facto” and operating illegally.

This applies to police officers, prosecutors and judges, he said. He called them pieces of garbage and “dirty cockroaches.”

Then he issued a warning: if police officers tried to pull him over for driving with a suspended licence, he had no intention of stopping.

“If something happens, they will have been warned,” he said. “And if there’s a joker who starts shooting, it won’t end well. If you want to stop me, you’ll have to kill me.”

The video, Quebec Court Judge Pierre Labelle ruled on Tuesday, was a preview to the “immense tragedy that was Nov. 17, 2018.”

On that day, two weekends ago, a Sûreté du Québec cruiser driving on the Jacques-Cartier Bridge toward Montreal was alerted about a man driving with a suspended driver’s licence and licence plate.

The details of the police chase that followed, and Théodore’s history of anti-authority posts on social media, were explained during his bail hearing last week at the Montreal courthouse. Labelle denied his release on Tuesday.

According to Crown prosecutor Simon Boulianne, the SQ cruiser pulled up next to Théodore at a red light on De Lorimier Ave. and asked him about his licence. Théodore pulled over down the road, but then took off before the officer could reach his car. The SQ cruiser gave chase and asked the Montreal police for backup.

Driving around 40 km/h, it’s alleged Théodore drove through red lights and down streets in the opposite direction.

Near the intersection of De Bordeaux St. and Sherbrooke St. E., he drove past two SPVM cop cars trying to block him. Officers standing outside their cars smashed his windows with their batons. He drove over one officer’s foot.

Driving on Sherbrooke St. E., Boulianne said, witnesses told police Théodore reached speeds of 100 km/h. The chase ended when he collided with an SPVM car, lost control, and crashed. He crawled out of his window and was tackled by officers.

In the aftermath, police noticed a woman on the ground. Nancy Carrier, 42, had been shovelling snow in front of her home. She was unconscious, bleeding from the head and missing her boots — because of the impact, they were found about 10 metres away. Several surgeries later, she remains hospitalized.

Quebec’s Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes, which acts as the province’s police watchdog, is still investigating the police chase. According to the BEI, it’s an SPVM car that hit Carrier after being struck by Théodore’s car. In court, it was noted that an SPVM sergeant had attempted to call off the chase to avoid any injuries, but the calls went ignored.

Théodore, 40, has been detained ever since.

The path that led him to what took place two weeks ago appears to stem from a ticket he received from the city of Longueuil for tinted car windows. He has been in conflict with the city ever since, claiming a conspiracy against him and insisting in social media posts that he would not “obey” to provincial or municipal laws.

In November, the city of Longueuil asked for an injunction to have Théodore remove some of his defamatory Facebook posts. After it was granted, Théodore posted another vulgar tirade to Facebook, saying he couldn’t care less about the decision from a “corrupt judge.”

In other Facebook posts and videos shown in court, Théodore said he was ready to arm himself if needed to “protect” himself from authorities and urged others to do the same. The only police force he would respect is the RCMP, he said, as the rest are “operating illegally.”

Though he denied being associated with the group in court, his beliefs appear to be in line with the Freeman-on-the-land movement, a group that considers themselves independent from the government and laws. People who came to support Théodore in court swore he wasn’t part of the group and insisted his beliefs are valid.

During his bail hearing last Thursday, Théodore expressed remorse for Carrier’s family. He said it’s deeply affecting him and he isn’t taking it lightly.

He promised to respect any conditions that would be imposed if he was released on bail.

“You have my word, Mr. Judge,” he said. “I am a person who is just and who is real. There are things I said, yes, but if I give you my word that I’ll respect conditions, then I’ll respect them.”

Labelle, who had just listened to Théodore’s rants against authority figures and the justice system, asked why Théodore would all of sudden be ready to respect a court order.

“The context is different,” Théodore answered.

“Yes,” Labelle replied, “You weren’t detained then, and now you are.”

On Tuesday, Théodore sat quietly, handcuffed and wearing a black coat, as Labelle explained why he was denying his release on bail.

His promise to respect conditions, Labelle wrote in a 14-page decision he read aloud, “is in complete contradiction to all of his previous statements.”

“This statement alone does not reassure the court that the defendant has indeed changed his mind about the “freeman” philosophy he’s adopted for so long,” Labelle said.

Labelle wrote that Théodore believed himself to be “untouchable” because of a “distorted interpretation of the law.”

He got in his car that day despite knowing his driver’s licence and licence plate were suspended, the judge ruled, because he considered himself to be above the law.

“This leads directly to the injuries sustained by Nancy Carrier,” Labelle said. “There is nothing else to add.”

Théodore is charged with dangerous driving, criminal negligence and dangerous driving during a police chase. All three charges carry the extra weight of having caused bodily harm. If found guilty, he could face up to 14 years in prison.

The case returns to court in early December.

No comments: