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Laval drama: start of preliminary investigation

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Pierre Ny St-Amand, now 52 years old, must answer to two counts of first degree murder. (Archive photo)

  • Philippe Granger (View profile)Philippe Granger

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The preliminary investigation of the man accused of driving into a daycare with a bus last year in Laval began Monday at the Saint-Jérôme courthouse. It will last four days.

On February 8, 2023, two children were killed when a Société de transport de Laval bus crashed into their daycare in the Sainte-Rose neighborhood, creating a wave shocks across the country.

Pierre Ny St-Amand, now 52, ​​faces two counts of first-degree murder as well as seven other counts: one of attempted murder; two of aggravated assault; and four of assault causing bodily harm.

What is a preliminary hearing?< /p>

In criminal law, a preliminary inquiry is a judicial hearing to determine whether the evidence collected by the Crown is sufficient and valid to hold a trial. There is no question of determining the guilt of the accused. Charges may be withdrawn or added by the judge if the investigation warrants it.

This is for the sake of room availability that the preliminary investigation is held in Saint-Jérôme, and not in Laval. A publication ban will limit the information that can leave the courtroom.

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Jacob Gauthier, 4 and a half years old, and Maëva David, 5 years old, have were killed on February 8, 2023. (Archive photo)

Tragedy in Laval

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Pierre Ny St-Amand was there, handcuffed. His lawyer asked that he not be handcuffed so that he could take notes. He appeared calm, focused and both emotionless and dejected, looking at the audience quite steadily as he entered the courtroom.

13 witnesses called by the Crown will be heard during the preliminary investigation, including work colleague, neighbor and parent of children. A psychologist and a psychiatrist will also be called to testify, as will the driver's spouse.

For criminal lawyer Nada Boumeftah, the presence of the latter may raise eyebrows.

There are still rules regarding the spouse to testify. We will see what will be applicable or not and, above all, the relevance of having it. Will this be raised in defense or not?

A quote from Nada Boumeftah, criminal lawyer

If this is not the case, we can indeed think that this witness will be there to give a portrait of this individual in everyday life, she told Isabelle Richer on the airwaves of RDI.

Shortly after his arrest, the driver was found competent to stand trial, despite many speculations regarding his mental health. Another assessment carried out by the Philippe-Pinel Institute aimed at determining the man's mental state at the time of the tragedy was submitted under seal a few weeks later.

On the day of the tragedy, witnesses said that the driver seemed to be in a rage and took off all his clothes before trying to leave his vehicle. The same day, he appeared from a room at the Sacré-Cœur Hospital, under the guard of police officers. He attacked one of them, forcing the court proceedings to be interrupted for about 20 minutes.

In September, his lawyer, Mr Julien Lspérance, told journalists that he would argue at the next hearing that his client should not stand trial, but refused to provide further details on why he account invoke.

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Pierre's lawyer Ny St-Amand, Me Julien Lspérance. (Archive photo)

If there were to be a trial in this case, it should take place in the fall of 2024.

Proceedings against him have been postponed several times. Last August, the Crown notably requested more time to disclose evidence.

With information from Aimée Lemieux and Isabelle Richer

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