Police determine no offence took place in Fernie/Sparwood transit bus incident

All release conditions lifted

On Tuesday, Jan. 24, Elk Valley RCMP reported that a man had been released with conditions after an alleged assault on a transit bus.

A five-year-old girl was riding a transit bus between Sparwood and Fernie on Jan. 23, when she was approached by an unknown man who allegedly grabbed her arm to get a better camera angle while taking photos of her, according to a police report filed by the girl’s mother.

On Jan. 26, the investigation was completed and all conditions were removed.

“There was found to be no video evidence from BC Transit to assist with the investigation. Working with parents and guardians, police completed step-wise child interviews with the victim, other child witnesses and police spoke with adult witnesses,” says a press release from S/Sgt. S.D.A. (Svend) Nielsen, detachment commander.

“As previously indicated, there was an allegation of assault where the suspect, who was identified and arrested, had grabbed the arm of a young child and taken her photo. After speaking with the various witnesses and the victim, police determined that no offence had taken place.”

Several of the witnesses, including the girl sitting next to the man, confirmed that the man had been speaking with a family member over FaceTime at the time.

“The man had contact with the young girl on the hand during this conversation, with no intent of harm or risk to the child,” the release says.

Police say other witnesses support this information and it is consistent across all interviews. Family of the children involved have been updated and agree with the conclusions of the investigation.

The man, who is in Canada legally on a work permit, has been cleared of any offence. Police say he was co-operative with them from the beginning of the investigation.

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