Man accused of attempted murder arrested by Victoria police in France

A Quebec man who fled to France two years ago after being charged in Victoria with two counts of attempted murder is back behind bars.

Sebastien Normandin, 49, appeared in Victoria provincial court Monday after being arrested in France and extradited to Canada.

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Normandin, who was wanted by Interpol, had been detained in France since September 2018. Last week, Victoria police officers flew to Paris to arrest him. They returned to Victoria on Friday.

Normandin was initially arrested on Dec. 27, 2016, after police were called to Gillespie Place in the Rockland neighbourhood of Victoria, where it’s alleged he used his vehicle to ram the parked car of his former girlfriend and her boyfriend.

Normandin faces a raft of charges, including dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, criminal harassment and assault of his ex-girlfriend.

On Monday, Crown prosecutor Jess Patterson asked the judge to renew Normandin’s no-contact order with his two alleged victims. Normandin, who is six-foot, five-inches tall with short grey hair and glasses, was wearing red sweatpants and a red sweatshirt. He is to appear in court again on Nov. 18.

After his initial arrest in December 2016, Normandin remained in custody until May 30, 2017. A provincial court judge agreed to release him on $5,000 bail with the condition that he fly to Montreal to live there. He was not required to surrender his passport.

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 remaining five days.

A Montreal psychologist treating Normandin as part of his bail conditions was the first to notice something was amiss. In mid-October 2017, the psychologist notified the Saanich bail supervisor that Normandin had missed an appointment. The bail supervisor contacted Montreal police, who checked their logbook and found he 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, Patterson applied to have the $5,000 cash deposit on Normandin’s bail forfeited.

Interpol began searching for him, posting his photograph and physical details on their red notice list. He was one of 50 people wanted by Canada for serious crimes.

A red notice asks police around the world to locate and arrest an individual. It gives high international visibility to criminal cases and makes travel more difficult for suspects and criminals, because they are flagged for border officials. A red notice also allows countries to request and share critical information linked to an investigation.

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.

“Other than incurable diseases and war, jail is as bad as it gets. Avoid at all costs,” Normandin wrote on his Facebook page.

His Twitter account, @weirdhistorian, no longer exists.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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