Friday , January 15 2021

Hateful graffiti on a synagogue: the accused would have psychiatric disorders

The man who allegedly painted swastikas on the doors of a Westmount synagogue yesterday is said to be suffering from a psychiatric condition, so he will be assessed by experts on his fitness to appear in court.

• Read also: Westmount synagogue targeted by hate graffiti

The alleged anti-Semitic gesture of 28-year-old Adam Riga caused a stir and even prompted Quebec Premier François Legault to denounce this behavior. His federal counterpart, Justin Trudeau, called the act “absolutely heinous”.

However, the first elements of the investigation lead to believe more in a person suffering from mental disorders than in a neo-Nazi. Riga appeared at the Montreal courthouse this morning, but he has not yet been charged with incitement to hatred or mischief.

Instead, he faces bosses for having possession of incendiary material [un bidon d’essence et un briquet], as well as having threatened to set fire to the place of worship, located on Chemin de la Côte-Saint-Antoine.

He was arrested thanks to a security guard inside the building, who had seen a person laying the hate graffiti on surveillance cameras. The police quickly intervened to arrest Riga.

During this morning’s hearing, it was agreed that Riga be met by criminologists from the psychosocial emergency, in order to check his suitability to appear. This relatively brief step essentially consists of ensuring that an accused understands the situation in which she finds herself.

If further testing is needed, Riga could be sent to the Philippe-Pinel Institute, where psychiatrists will carry out a new assessment.

He will return to court tomorrow for the rest of the proceedings.

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