Advertisement

Preliminary hearing begins for Quebec man charged with murder in daycare bus crash

Two children were killed when a city bus was driven straight into a daycare centre in Laval, Que., Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023.  (Steve Rompré/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Two children were killed when a city bus was driven straight into a daycare centre in Laval, Que., Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023. (Steve Rompré/Radio-Canada - image credit)

UPDATE: On March 28, 2024 a judge ordered Pierre Ny St-Amand to stand trial on charges of first-degree murder in connection with this case.

A preliminary hearing began Monday for a Quebec man accused of killing two young children by allegedly driving a city bus 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 the Sainte-Rose neighbourhood of Laval, Que., on Feb. 8, 2023, killing two young children, aged five and four, and injuring six others.

The 52-year-old former city bus driver faces two counts of first-degree murder as well as seven other charges, including attempted murder and aggravated assault.

A publication ban requested by the Crown covers the names of the young victims and any evidence that will be presented this week.

Quebec court Judge François Landry is presiding over the hearing. He will decide whether there is sufficient evidence for the case to be sent to trial.

"Essentially, we are talking about several witnesses, police officers, witnesses that acted on Feb. 8, 2023," prosecutor Simon Blais told reporters outside the courtroom on Monday.

"There is a publication ban to ensure that at the trial, the jury members that will be selected are not biased by what they could hear in the media."

The hearing is taking place in Saint-Jerôme, Que., north of Montreal, due to a lack of courthouse space in Laval.

St-Amand was impassive as he listened to testimony Monday morning. The Crown has said it intends to call 13 witnesses over the next four days.

Among the scheduled witnesses are parents whose children were at the daycare and who intervened after the bus crash, police officers and members of the accused's family. A psychiatrist is also scheduled to testify.

Wearing a grey sweatshirt with short-cropped salt-and-pepper hair, St-Amand took notes on a clipboard while he sat in the prisoner's dock, occasionally conferring with his lawyers.

He entered the courtroom in manacles, which his lawyers requested be removed so that he could take notes. Instead, guards fitted him with looser handcuffs because the courthouse constable manager considered the accused to be "unpredictable."