School bus driver acquitted of assault

Although the bus driver Fernand Beaudette did not act appropriately by jostling a child in crisis that he was carrying on a school bus adapted to Sherbrooke, the court gave him a reasonable doubt as to his criminal intent.
Lhas Claire Desgens judge of the Court of Québec has been firm with the man 78 years making the acquittal on Tuesday at the courthouse of Sherbrooke does not endorse his actions.

“I do not consider that you have acted in the best way even considering the problems of this child. There is nothing to condone the attitude you have had, “says Judge Desgens.

Fernand Beaudette was acquitted of the common assault of which he was accused for an episode that occurred on April 5, 2017.

“You were clearly overwhelmed by this crisis when you used what looks like inadequate, outdated and certainly inappropriate educational methods that highlight more incompetence than violence,” Judge Desgens says.

The event was captured by the surveillance camera of the Transdev adapted transit bus.

The escalation of violence occurs while Fernand Beaudette lays a child. The man, who was 76 at the time, had not been trained as a driver for the type of clientele he was carrying.

The judge sent a message to the Commission scolaire de la Region-de-Sherbrooke and the company Transdev at the end of her verdict.

“They certainly should have been able or given a more structured training to their employees and favor the hiring of drivers better equipped, more equipped and specifically trained to intervene with the type of clientele that we are talking about here. My powers do not allow me to make recommendations, but I seriously question the means deployed and are still put forward to resolve this type of situation known to be difficult for both drivers and vulnerable young passengers to to prevent this kind of situation from happening again. The situation is as unpleasant for the victim’s family as it is for the accused, “said Judge Desgens.

Not hit

During his testimony, Fernand Beaudette swears that he never touched the child, that he stopped before touching him.

“The pictures are inconclusive as you hit him. You testified that you threatened him without hitting him, which I can not rule out. Your gestures have appeared sudden and your words moved especially that you offer him, without him to give, pats on the muzzle. These words are inappropriate, but they reflect your inability to handle the situation, “said Justice Desgens.

She noted the circumstances in which Fernand Beaudette had to act to protect himself and other passengers and prevent the escalation of his actions.

“You had few means at your disposal. Nothing in this decision should be construed as endorsing the physical intervention you have chosen to employ. It was not the most appropriate measure. Given the context and the diagnoses of this young person, the origin of this crisis that has developed rapidly can not be attributed to you, “said Judge Desgens.

Me Christian Raymond defended Fernand Beaudette, while Me Véronique Gingras-Gauthier represented the public prosecutor in this case.


“It will not stay there”

“My child goes to an adapted school with adapted educators and lives in an environment adapted to his situation. I do not understand why paratransit personnel are not trained for this type of clientele. ”

The father of the child involved in the altercation with Fernand Beaudette on the paratransit bus in April 2017 does not want the 78-year-old man so much, but deplores the context in which this affair took place .

He must not be easy to master his son when he is in crisis.

“I fought for safe transportation. It took that situation for someone to react. When you put your child in a specialized environment, you expect certain services and the people who are responsible for their transportation are trained to intervene with children who have this type of problem. With what happened, we have proof that anyone can drive a paratransit bus, “says the child’s father.

He intends to submit the whole matter to a lawyer to change things.

“I do not know who or how I’m going to act, but it will not stay there. I am going to question the school board, the transportation company or initiate a civil suit if necessary. Fernand Beaudette has never been the right person to do this job. He did not have the training and he did not know how to intervene. I’m sure he’s not alone in this situation, “he says.

The driver relieved

On leaving the courtroom, Fernand Beaudette said he was relieved to put this criminal prosecution last.

“I’m going to breathe a little better. I agree that it was not the right thing to do, but we could have had more training. I did my best with what I knew. Now that everything is over, I do not want to know anything about driving a bus, “says the 78-year-old.

He was fired by Transdev as a result of this event.

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