Blue Line

Lawyer for man who killed Quebec police officer says no sign of threat in final chat

February 19, 2024  By Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

Feb. 19, 2024, Montreal, Que. – A Quebec man who killed a provincial police officer last year gave no indication he was about to become violent, said his lawyer, who was likely the last person to chat with him before the stabbing attack.

Lawyer Yanick Péloquin testified on Monday during the coroner’s inquest into the death of Sgt. Maureen Breau on March 27 in Louiseville, Que., about 100 kilometres northeast of Montreal. The coroner is also investigating the death of Isaac Brouillard Lessard, 35, who was shot dead by police in his apartment building moments after he attacked Breau and seriously injured another officer.

Péloquin said he had a 45-minute text exchange with Brouillard Lessard that ended about two hours before police arrived to his client’s house to arrest him for uttering threats and violating probation.

“Nothing about the conversation was very intense, that would have led me to believe that he could commit something like the act we’re here for,” the lawyer said. “Otherwise, I would have called the relevant authorities.”


Péloquin, who in 2022 represented Brouillard Lessard at the province’s mental-health review board, told the inquiry that he shudders when he sees the final message from his client. The lawyer did not describe the content of that text, however, citing attorney-client privilege.

The lawyer said he felt guilty in the aftermath of the killing.

“But I understood afterwards that I couldn’t have known,” Péloquin said, adding that he never saw signs of delirium, anger or threatening behaviour during his interactions with his client.

The inquiry has heard that police visited Brouillard Lessard on March 24, three days before the attack, after his parents reported his troubling behaviour: over a three-day period Brouillard Lessard had sent his mother 43 calls and 481 text messages, most of which were threatening. On March 27, he threatened his uncle, who complained to police, setting in motion the operation to arrest him. His mother had told the uncle that calling police is one way to get him the treatment he needed.

Péloquin said that in a separate phone conversation not long before the killing, his client expressed concerns about police officers coming to his home and forcing him into a hospital for care. But Péloquin insisted Monday that his client didn’t harbour any anger toward police but feared them because he viewed them as acting on behalf of psychiatrists.

During that conversation, Péloquin told Brouillard Lessard to call him if police ever showed up at his house.

The lawyer testified that he assumed he was likely Brouillard Lessard’s only friend during the final year of his life, noting that his client was quite isolated and didn’t know anyone in Louiseville. Péloquin said Brouillard Lessard was not looking forward to an upcoming hearing in April 2023 at the mental-health review board — Commission d’examen des troubles mentaux — the body that governs the release conditions for people charged with crimes but who have been found not criminally responsible because of a mental disability.

Brouillard Lessard had been found not criminally responsible five times for offences in 2014 and 2018. He had also spent a year at a Montreal psychiatric hospital. He had been followed by the board since 2014. In his previous appearance before the board in January 2022, Brouillard Lessard was insolent and arrogant and felt the process was predetermined, the lawyer noted.

In April 2022, Brouillard Lessard had been granted an absolute discharge and two years’ probation after assaulting an apartment concierge.

Later Monday, Jean-Marc Poirier, a witness representing Quebec’s prosecutor’s office, said new directives since the attack on Breau have helped make prosecutors more aware of decisions by the mental health board. Prosecutors, he added, now attend board hearings, which wasn’t the case for Brouillard Lessard.

The inquest has heard that Brouillard Lessard was not respecting his release conditions, including by consuming cannabis and not taking his medication.

Poirier said that when conditions imposed by the review board are not respected, it’s not up to the Crown to lay criminal charges. Instead, a patient’s supervising hospital must be the first to call police — but Poirier said that rarely happens.

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