André Dallaire is a Canadian who attempted to assassinate Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in 1995. Dallaire claimed that he heard voices that led him to break into the 24 Sussex Drive residence. At trial, Justice Paul Bélanger agreed with Dallaire's earlier diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and found Dallaire guilty of attempted murder, but not criminally responsible.
Born in Longueuil, Quebec, Dallaire was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic at sixteen years of age. He had quit his job at a Montreal convenience store on October 25, 1995, removing all the money out of the cash register and walking off mid-shift. On October 30, his sister reported receiving a letter from him that had been postmarked in Ottawa.
At 02:10 UTC−5 on November 5, 1995, Dallaire arrived outside 24 Sussex Drive and spent the next 20 minutes throwing stones onto the grounds and waving at security cameras while carrying a pocket knife alternately described as three or five inches in length.
He then climbed the fence and strode over to the house, where he smashed a glass door and entered, wandering around the basement and ground floor for 30 minutes before heading to the Chrétiens' bedroom where he was confronted by Chrétien's wife Aline as he was pulling on his gloves.
Aline hurried back into the bedroom and locked the door, rousing Chrétien, who initially dismissed her story as "just a dream", while she dialed the RCMP officers stationed outside the house.
Dallaire did not attempt to break down the door, and waited for the police to arrive. Controversially, it took seven minutes for the police to respond to Aline's desperate call about an intruder trying to kill the Prime Minister, in part because the first officer to respond had forgotten his key to the residence.
Dallaire was kept in a group home for the duration of the trial. Expert witness Dominique Bourget, a psychiatrist with the Royal Ottawa Hospital, testified that Dallaire viewed himself as a "secret agent" avenging the loss of sovereigntist forces in the 1995 Quebec referendum, and that he believed killing the Prime Minister would cause him to "become a hero for the nation".
His travel during the trial was not restricted, so long as he was accompanied at all times by a worker from the group home. He was formally charged with attempted murder, breaking and entering, possession of a weapon and being unlawfully in a dwelling. His defense counsel was John Hale.
The trial also brought to light the security camera footage of Dallaire freely roaming the property, while RCMP officers should have been monitoring the cameras. Ultimately, four officers were suspended for several months, while three supervisors were reassigned.
In 1998 Dallaire spoke to the media, apologising for his prior behaviour, and reassuring the Canadian public that he was now on medication that controlled his actions, and that he hoped the Chrétiens could forgive his actions.
Also in 1998, an intoxicated man was found on the grounds of the Prime Minister's residence, raising questions about the security upgrade undertaken since Dallaire's intrusion.
- Fisher, Luke (1996-07-08). "Chrétien Attacker Found Guilty". Maclean's. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- Caragata, Warren; Barry Came (1995-11-20). "Security Improved at 24 Sussex". Maclean's. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- Canadian News Digest, Defence, prosecution agree Dallare mentally ill, June 25, 1996.
- "André Dallaire".[dead link]
- André Dallaire, le voisin des Chrétien - Radio-Canada nouvelles