A judge has ruled against the Crown’s attempt to have Normand Dubé (pictured in October 2018) declared a long-term offender.
Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette
When grudges he held against his town and the Canada Border Services Agency degenerated, Normand Dubé turned to crime for revenge: he researched three employees’ home addresses and, over the course of 11 months, ordered their homes burned down.Seven weeks after the last fire in late 2014, he acted on another grudge. After a long-standing dispute with Hydro-Québec, Dubé used a small airplane to short-circuit two of the utility’s major power lines. It caused nearly $30 million in damages.Dubé, 57, has been found guilty of two counts of criminal harassment and four counts of arson for the fires, but has yet to be sentenced in the case. He received a seven-year prison term for the Hydro-Québec attack.At the St-Jérôme courthouse Monday, a Quebec Court judge rejected a request by the Crown to have Dubé evaluated in order to be declared a long-term offender.The Crown had made the request in the context of the arson case, given the repetitive nature of the crimes. The designation can have an impact on the length of a prison term and allows for surveillance conditions to be imposed on an offender.“Mr. Dubé is someone who holds onto grudges and makes them personal,” said Crown prosecutor Steve Baribeau.“He’s someone who’s vengeful and who, when confronted with a conflict, isn’t able to handle it,” Baribeau added. “He waits, like a predator, and acts years later. That’s what’s disturbing.”Baribeau reminded the court how Dubé has described himself as “cunning” and once told one of the eventual arson victims — a customs officer Dubé threatened after he received a fine — that “revenge is a dish best served cold.”“He can’t control himself,” Baribeau told Quebec Court Judge Gilles Garneau.Wearing a neck brace, sweater and glasses, Dubé sat quietly in the accused’s dock throughout the hearing. His defence lawyer, Maxime Chevalier, argued his client didn’t meet one of the main requirements for being declared a long-term offender: a substantial risk of reoffending.The arsons were targeted acts of vengeance against specific people under specific circumstances, Chevalier said.“There’s no reason to believe it could happen again,” he said.Judge Garneau’s decision not to grant the request was based in large part on a presentencing report completed for the case.Prepared by a criminologist who met with him in detention on two occasions, the report details how Dubé, who is appealing both convictions, doesn’t recognize his guilt or responsibility.But Dubé did respect his conditions when released while awaiting trial, it notes, and shows a low risk of reoffending in the short or medium term “because of the media attention and the ongoing legal proceedings.”Raising his voice in exasperation on several occasions, Baribeau pleaded with Garneau to not give so much weight to “one line” from the report.“Mr. Dubé is not well,” he said, shaking his head. “I don’t know what planet he lives on, but clearly there is something not right with him.”As part of the hearing, the Crown played an audio recording of comments Dubé made to reporters in late May, immediately after he was found guilty in the arson case.Related
Rushing into the hallway, Dubé said he isn’t vengeful, had nothing to do with the fires, considers himself the victim in the case and believes “the system” is working against him.“I’ve had conflicts with much more than three people, as a manufacturer, over 35 or 40 years,” he told reporters. “I’ve had plenty of conflicts with people. If their homes burn down now, is it going to be my fault?”Baribeau said the comments show Dubé is “in the exact same state of mind” as when he committed the crimes.But given the low risk of reoffending, Garneau maintained Dubé didn’t meet the needed criteria for the designation.“There’s a period in his life during which, if I may say, he blew a gasket,” the judge said. “But it’s a very precise period.”Having rejected the request, Garneau will begin hearing sentencing arguments in the arson case next email@example.comTwitter.com/jessefeith