A preliminary inquiry for a Quebec man who fled to France two years ago after being charged in Victoria with two counts of attempted murder has been scheduled for late May.
Sebastien Normandin was arrested in France and extradited to Canada on Oct. 18, 2019. Three Victoria police detectives flew to Paris to arrest Normandin and escort him back to Canada.
The 49-year-old, who was wanted by Interpol, had been detained in France since September 2018.
On Monday, Normandin, who is six-foot-five with short grey hair and glasses, appeared by video in Victoria provincial court from the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre.
Criminal defence lawyer Chantelle Sutton told the court that a two-day preliminary hearing will be held May 25 and 26 in B.C. Supreme Court. Normandin has elected to be tried by a judge and jury.
Judge Robert Higinbotham renewed Normandin’s no-contact order with his two alleged victims.
Normandin was initially arrested on Dec. 27, 2016, after police were called to Gillespie Place in the Rockland neighbourhood of Victoria. It’s alleged he used his vehicle to ram the parked car of his former girlfriend and her boyfriend.
He is also charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, criminal harassment and assault of his ex-girlfriend.
After his initial arrest in December 2016, Normandin remained in custody until May 30, 2017. Judge Jennifer Barrett agreed to release him on $5,000 bail with the condition that he fly to Montreal to live there.
Initially, Normandin was required to live at a specific address in Montreal and to report to police in person every day.
Those conditions were relaxed in July 2017, and Normandin was allowed to report in person twice a week and by phone the other five days.
In mid-October 2017, a Montreal psychologist who was treating Normandin as part of his bail conditions notified the Saanich bail supervisor that Normandin had missed an appointment. The bail supervisor contacted Montreal police, who found Normandin had not signed in since Oct. 15.
Police obtained a still photograph of Normandin going through customs at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Oct. 21, 2017, as he boarded a flight to England. He went to France the day he arrived in England.
In November of that year, the Crown applied to have the $5,000 deposit on Normandin’s bail forfeited. Interpol began searching for him, posting his photograph and physical details online.
Normandin, who has a PhD in history from McGill University and is a former university instructor, remained active on Facebook and Twitter after he jumped bail, writing on his Facebook page: “Jail is as bad as it gets. Avoid at all costs.”
Victoria police found him by using tracking software and search warrants.
Normandin co-operated with the French authorities who arrested him. Then local investigators began the lengthy process of working with Interpol, the Department of Justice and RCMP to secure Normandin’s extradition back to Canada to stand trial.
The extradition process took 12 months and involved court proceedings in France and authorization from the French prime minister.