inmate Philippe Deslauriers “was in escape mode in his head”

Immediately upon arriving at the Roberval detention center, Philippe Deslauriers was assigned to a crisis and restraint cell to ensure his own safety.

“There was an inconsistency in what he said,” remembers Éric Lamontagne, a correctional services officer called to testify by the defense at the Deslauriers murder trial.

“He was disoriented. He was’nt here. We cannot say that he was a person in a normal state,” added the witness.

In his report of October 27, 2021, he noted that Deslauriers “was not in a position to respond adequately.”

In his inconsistent behavior, the witness mentioned that the defendant was licking the floor, playing ghost by hiding under the covers, and playing with the food.

But during a call with his lawyer, “his words were consistent,” the witness said. He tries to control the conversation. When questioned by the Crown prosecutor, Me Amélie Gilbert, Éric Lamontagne mentioned having wondered if Deslauriers was playing or had real reactions.

“What struck me was his escapist attitude. […] This difficulty in seeking contact with him. […] He goes from calm to guy playing crazy. […] He acted like a child. For him, it was a game.”

— Éric Lamontagne, correctional services officer

In another report written on November 2, 2021, witness Lamontagne wrote that according to him, the accused “was in escape mode in his head”.

Suicidal thoughts

In the reports, it is noted that Deslauriers had attempted suicide, but the inmate denied it. “He made a gesture that we interpreted as a suicide attempt,” said Éric Lamontagne.

By early November, the officer believed the inmate was on good behavior and following the rules. But he observed that the individual “remains in fear like a wounded animal.”

Deslauriers had started taking medication to sleep. He has also resumed this habit in the last weeks as the trial approaches. “He felt he needed it,” the witness said.

According to him, it was very difficult to create a bond of trust. “Maybe I was the bad guy for him,” he said of Deslauriers’ possible perception of his correctional officer uniform.

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The DPCP prosecutor, Me Amélie Gilbert, questioned the witness about the eccentric and talkative behavior of the accused. (Tom Core/The Daily)

Under cross-examination, the agent admitted that all those who are incarcerated for attempted murder or murder are almost systematically placed in suicide prevention. “These people are no longer in reality.”

Mr. Gilbert also suggested to him that the accused could be eccentric and talkative. “I always said that Mr. Deslauriers behaved a little childishly,” replied the witness. The officer had doubts about his sanity. “He’s an intelligent person, but when he didn’t want to, he didn’t want to.”

Éric Lamontagne indicated that the inmate had had a few angry outbursts since his incarceration, due to itching linked to skin problems.

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Deslauriers’ lawyer, Me Sébastien Saint-Laurent, has been calling witnesses for two days. (Rocket Lavoie/Archives Le Quotidien)

A different inmate now

Two other correctional officers were brought to the witness box by defense lawyer, Me Sébastien Saint-Laurent.

Steve Larouche was assigned to the Roberval prison infirmary at the time of Deslauriers’ incarceration in October 2021.

“When he arrived, he had no discussions. He didn’t respond to anything. His eyes were empty. Monsieur was absent. Monsieur was clearly not there.

— Steve Larouche, correctional services officer

Today, the officer works in the outer courtyard of the detention center. He spoke a few times with Deslauriers. He observed that the detainee’s attitude changed.

“Sir is nice. He is different from the others. […] He’s not the same man. During his incarceration, he had no speech. He didn’t answer questions. He was elsewhere. […] His speech today is a normal interaction with a human being.”

— Steve Larouche, correctional services officer

Questioned by the Crown about Deslauriers’ arrival in prison, the witness nevertheless recognized that atypical behavior in detention was a common thing among incarcerated people.

>>>Since his arrest in October 2021, Philippe Deslauriers has been detained in Roberval prison.>>>

Since his arrest in October 2021, Philippe Deslauriers has been detained in Roberval prison. (ARCHIVES)

A third correctional officer was called before Judge Carl Thibault. David Tremblay emphasized that he had been working with Deslauriers for about a year.

He said the accused was polite and courteous. He added that he looked tidy, clean with proper hygiene. The officer said he did not see any problems with the individual’s speech and inconsistency.

The trial continues Wednesday at the Alma courthouse.

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