A Quebec man accused of killing two young children when the city bus he was driving slammed into a Montreal-area daycare has been judged fit to stand trial, and his lawyer on Friday requested that his client also be evaluated for criminal responsibility.
Pierre Ny St-Amand appeared in a courtroom in Laval, Que., where his lawyer said a psychiatric evaluation requested last week found the accused mentally able to participate in the criminal case. Quebec court Judge Marc-André Dagenais ordered that report sealed.
The 51-year-old driver with the Laval transit corporation was arrested Feb. 8 after a bus he was driving crashed into the front of a daycare in the Ste-Rose neighbourhood, killing two four-year-olds and injuring six other children.
St-Amand is charged with two counts of first-degree murder as well as seven other charges, including attempted murder and aggravated assault.
His defence lawyer, Julien L’Esperance Hudon, requested another evaluation, this time of his client’s criminal responsibility — whether the accused was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the alleged crime. Dagenais accepted that request.
St-Amand’s attorney and prosecutor Karine Dalphond both told the court that some elements in the sealed psychiatric report justified the request for an assessment on the accused’s criminal responsibility. The evaluation will take place at a Montreal psychiatric hospital.
Unlike his court appearance one week earlier when he appeared to be in a trancelike state, St-Amand was awake and alert on Friday but did not say anything during his brief appearance before the judge.
Last week, St-Amand appeared to be struggling to walk and had his eyes closed as he entered the courtroom. His lawyer said at the time that he was having trouble communicating with his client.
The case will return before a judge on March 28; St-Amand is scheduled to be present on that date.
—Pierre Saint-Arnaud, The Canadian Press