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Deadly Laval daycare bus crash: Preliminary hearing begins March 25

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The preliminary hearing for a man accused of killing two children in February when he allegedly drove a city bus into a Laval, Que., daycare is set to begin on March 25.

Defence lawyer Julien Lespérance Hudon told a Laval court Wednesday that he plans to challenge the two charges of first-degree murder on the grounds that his client, Pierre Ny St-Amand, did not have the necessary criminal intent.

St-Amand, 51, who remains detained at a Montreal psychiatric hospital, appeared in court by video conference. He spoke little, greeting his lawyer and, later, confirming to the judge that he understood that the hearing date had been set.

Prosecutor Karine Dalphond said she plans to call about 10 witnesses during the four-day hearing.

"It's essentially civilian witnesses who were present when the incident happened," she told the court. "In addition, there are members of Mr. St-Amand's family who will also be called to testify. As well, there was an evaluation that was conducted at the request of the defence with regards to criminal responsibility, and the psychiatrist and psychologist will also be asked to testify."

Among the family members who will testify for the Crown at the hearing is St-Amand's wife, Dalphond added.

She said the hearing, which will determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial, will take place north of Laval in St-Jérôme because a courtroom wasn't available in Laval.

"It's difficult to get rooms in Laval quickly," she told reporters outside the courtroom. "We want this to be scheduled as quickly as possible."

A bus driver with the Laval transit corporation at the time of the crash, St-Amand was arrested after a city bus plowed into the front of a daycare on Feb. 8, killing two four-year-olds and injuring six other children.

He faces a total of nine charges, including attempted murder and aggravated assault.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Nov. 29, 2023. 

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