A jury has begun hearing evidence in the trial of a man charged with attempting to murder a man in a Montreal park dedicated to peace.
Alexis Barnabé Paradis, 42, is alleged to have tried to kill an unhoused man on June 17, 2018, for no apparent reason inside Place de la paix, a green space on St-Laurent Blvd. a block away from René Lévesque Blvd. The victim was sleeping on a concrete surface inside the park while resting his head on his backpack when the attacker struck him several times in the face and chest with a broken bottle.
Barnabé Paradis is also charged with assaulting a man who tried to help the first victim.
The Quebec Superior Court trial is being presided over by Justice Alexandre Boucher. The accused is represented by defence lawyer Catherine Daniel Houle.
In her opening statement to the jury, prosecutor Claudine Charest told the jury at the Montreal courthouse that the shirt the second victim was wearing “is central to the trial.” She said Barnabé Paradis bit the second victim through his shirt, leaving a bite mark that contained Barnabé Paradis’s DNA. The DNA match was made after the accused was arrested eight months after the attack.
Charest said the second victim will testify that he was seated in the park with a friend when he saw a man matching Barnabé Paradis’s description approach the first victim as he slept and then strike him several times quickly.
“(The first victim) was disoriented when he fled toward a street. The accused caught up to him without difficulty and continued the attack, while the victim was lying on a vehicle,” Charest said.
That was when the second victim intervened and was bitten by the attacker.
“(The accused) had no other option but to let go of his grip,” Charest said of the Good Samaritan’s actions.
The attacker fled after he chomped down on the second victim. But when police arrived, the attacker’s bite mark was very visible on the shirt, having left noticeable holes, and it was seized.
Police officers found the first victim covered in blood and semi-conscious.
“He was sleeping in Parc de la paix when the attack started and he woke up intubated 72 hours later at the Montreal General Hospital after undergoing several surgical procedures,” Charest said, while adding the first victim had battled a cocaine addiction for many years.
“This trial will be an incursion into a world that is likely not known to most of you,” Charest told the jury. “The facts that will be revealed in this courtroom will probably have no comparison with your daily lives. Some of the witnesses who will testify will have nothing in common with the people you interact with daily. It is possible that, before the start of this trial, you thought you would never meet people involved in drugs or the lifestyle of homelessness and the often unfortunate consequences that come with it.”
The prosecutor asked the jury to keep an open mind when they hear from those witnesses.
The first witness called to testify at the trial was William Carson, a crime scene technician who took photographs where the attacks took place.
The trial will resume on Wednesday.