Death of police officer Maureen Breau | Another psychiatrist testifies at the public inquiry

(Montreal) The last psychiatrist to speak with a Quebecer suffering from mental illness before he fatally stabbed a provincial police sergeant last March had a particularly difficult phone call with him a few days before the murder , revealed the coroner’s hearings on Wednesday.

The DD Hélène Poirier was assigned to Isaac Brouillard Lessard’s file in February 2022. Testifying during the third day of the coroner’s inquest, she affirmed that during a telephone call on March 22, 2023, Brouillard Lessard began angry and insulted her, yelling at her to the point where she hung up.

“I was more upset than worried, because it was the same message I had heard before… for me, it was the Isaac I knew,” she maintained.


Maureen Breau

The call came just five days before he attacked provincial police sergeant Maureen Breau as she and her colleagues tried to arrest him. The event occurred in Louiseville, Quebec, approximately 100 kilometers northeast of Montreal.

Isaac Brouillard Lessard, 35, stabbed the sergeant with a kitchen knife and seriously injured his colleague before being shot dead by the police.

Coroner Géhane Kamel’s investigation, which began Monday at the Trois-Rivières courthouse, aims to shed light on the circumstances surrounding these two deaths.

DD Poirier was one of several psychiatrists to testify this week about the treatment Brouillard Lessard received a decade ago. She noted that the day after the conversation, a calmer Brouillard Lessard called back and they were able to set up an appointment for April.

On Monday, a member of the Independent Investigations Bureau testified that provincial police officers visited Brouillard Lessard three days before he killed Mme Breau, after his parents expressed concerns about his deteriorating mental state. The police decided they had no reason to arrest him.

Hélène Poirier described Brouillard Lessard as stable and that he showed no signs of psychosis during the year he was her patient. Although it was difficult to deal with, she noted that Brouillard Lessard accepted several dose increases of his antipsychotic medications and was able to hold several jobs. She said she had difficulty contacting Brouillard Lessard between April and October 2022 because he was working.

Coroner Géhane Kamel raised questions about the months-long gap, given that Brouillard Lessard had been under the supervision of Quebec’s Mental Disorders Review Commission since 2014, after being found not criminally responsible for five offenses.

“It would have been preferable if there had been meetings,” admitted Mme Poirier.

What safety net for the attacker?

Brouillard Lessard’s erratic behavior led to the closure of his file in December 2023 by a team of workers who had been following him for a year.

The team decided to put an end to it because Brouillard Lessard was uncooperative, difficult to manage and had often refused the services offered to him.

Marie-Maude Beaulieu, a worker within this team, declared that even if he had refused the services of the workers, Brouillard Lessard was stable, without psychotic relapses or criminal incidents documented during the year 2022. “When we closed the file, we had no concerns for Isaac,” said Beaulieu.

Géhane Kamel raised concerns that there was no safety net for Brouillard Lessard – other than his parents, who monitored his mental health remotely and called authorities to voice their concerns.

“We cannot follow everyone who has a criminal past,” argued Mme Beaulieu. “It’s utopian to think that social workers can always make a difference. This is a heavy burden on the backs of these workers,” she added.

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