Quebec judge orders bus driver to stand trial for 2023 daycare crash deaths

Quebec judge orders bus driver to stand trial for 2023 daycare crash deaths
A memorial is shown at the site of the daycare centre bus crash in Laval, Que., Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023.

A judge on Thursday ordered a man to stand trial on charges including first-degree murder in the deaths of two children killed when a city bus rammed into a Montreal-area daycare last year.

Pierre Ny St-Amand was arrested after a transit bus crashed into the front of a daycare in Laval, Que., on Feb. 8, 2023, killing two young children, aged five and four, and injuring six others.

After hearing evidence and arguments this week during St-Amand’s preliminary hearing, Quebec court Judge François Landry ruled that there was sufficient evidence to send the case to trial. The 52-year-old former Laval transit driver will also stand trial on seven other charges, including attempted murder and aggravated assault.

A publication ban covers the names of the victims and any evidence presented during the preliminary hearing.

St-Amand was in court all four days, wearing a grey sweatshirt, listening and jotting notes on a clipboard, and occasionally interacting with his lawyers.

The Crown called 13 witnesses, including several Laval police officers, Laval transit employees and four fathers and a neighbour who intervened in the wake of the crash at the Garderie Éducative Ste-Rose. The accused’s wife also testified during the hearing.

Prosecutor Simon Blais told reporters the Crown was satisfied with the outcome, adding that his hope is for a trial in late 2024 or early 2025, depending on availability.

The hearing took place at the courthouse in St-JĂ©rĂ´me because of a lack of courthouse space in Laval. St-Amand’s case will return to court on April 11 before a Quebec Superior Court judge, who will decide a trial date, Blais said.

“It is always in the interest of a legal case to progress quickly, both for the families of the victims and for the accused himself and his family.”

It was a week charged with emotions. Laval police had a therapy dog in the courtroom available for anyone who needed it.

“Obviously, this is an issue that is charged with emotion,” Blais said. “We’re talking about the deaths and injuries of children.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2024.

— By Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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