What's next for the author of the daycare tragedy?

What's next for the perpetrator of the daycare tragedy?

Two days after the tragedy surrounding the Laval daycare centre, the Société de transport de Laval (STL) bus driver now faces nine counts: first degree murder on two children, attempted murder of those present at the daycare, aggravated assault on two children and assault causing bodily harm on four children.

To better understand the basic ins and outs of the legal process initiated, the criminal lawyer, Me Xavier Desrosiers*, spoke with Métro to unravel certain legal notions.

< em>Pierre Ny St-Amand is currently being held until his next court appearance. According to the facts that you know, is Mr. Ny St-Amand at risk of being detained or released until his trial?

I will not think he will be released. In Canadian law, for the vast majority of crimes, the principle is release, pending trial. Usually, the burden of demonstrating that the detention of the accused is necessary rests on the shoulders of the Crown.

However, for certain offenses — and this is the case with murder — the principle is detention. The burden rests on the back of the accused who must demonstrate that his detention is not necessary, according to three criteria: he can ensure his presence in court; he does not represent a danger to the public; releasing him could not shock a member of the public during the course of the administration of justice. It’s really on the last point that is likely to pose a problem.

He received a psychiatric evaluation at the hospital to determine his level of dangerousness. Following this assessment, it was determined that he was fit to stand trial. What is the threshold for determining fitness to stand trial?

The objective of the psychiatric evaluation is to know if the person understands what is happening at the procedural level, that is to say that there is a trial with a judge, lawyers, witnesses, etc The threshold to be met for a person to be fit to stand trial is relatively low. The person really has to be not at all receptive for them to be deemed unfit.

As to fitness to stand trial, a psychiatric assessment may be requested at any stage of the proceedings. The person may be fit to stand trial today, but not at a later date.

Can you distinguish between the counts of aggravated assault and assault causing bodily harm?

There are three types of assault. There are simple assaults, assaults causing bodily harm and aggravated assaults.

In ascending order of seriousness, we first find simple assaults. For example, I give a blow and the consequences of this blow are not visible.

Assault causing bodily harm involves some kind of injury. The Criminal Code defines it as something that is more than transient in nature. For example, I get punched in the brow bone, my brow bone opens up and I have a scar.

Aggravated assault goes beyond the transient nature of the matter.

What are the defenses that the accused could hypothetically invoke at trial? ? We have heard about not being criminally responsible on account of mental disorder. Could you elaborate on this?

If we talk about the character of the mens reas, guilty mind, it is the defense of not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder which risks being invoked. It’s the most classic example that we know, because it was discussed a lot during the first trial of Guy Turcotte.

The criterion for asserting this defense is whether the person was capable of judging the nature and quality of the act at the time of the facts. Did the person know that the action they were doing was wrong?

The people who will answer this question are psychiatrists. When the defendant wants to argue that the accused is not criminally responsible, it will present expert evidence with its own psychiatrists to demonstrate that at the time of the facts, the accused did not understand that the act was wrong. . The Crown will also present psychiatric evidence to refute that of the defendant.

This cannot result in a verdict of acquittal, but rather a verdict of not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder .

Are there defenses other than the accused to put forward?

Based on what I know, I understand that the direct evidence is quite strong, whether testimonial or material. There are several witnesses who saw the scene, who saw the individual driving the bus, who saw the bus heading towards the daycare.

Did ;there are any mitigating or aggravating circumstances that could influence the sentencing by the trial judge?

For first degree murder, the mitigating or aggravating circumstances do not very significant given that the minimum sentence imposed is life in prison.

Where these circumstances may affect not the sentence, but more the eligibility for parole, is at the level of other offences, both for assault causing bodily harm, the objective seriousness of which is less high, than for second degree murder.

Concerning the mitigating circumstances, what we know is that the individual had no criminal record. At this level, to be frank, I do not see others. Generally, it could be argued that the person is an asset to society because they have a job. But in this case, she abused the power conferred on her by her job to commit her crime, so it becomes an aggravating mitigating factor.

The age of the victims and the circumstances of the crime are also aggravating factors.

*Not having access to all the evidence in the file, the answers of Mr. Xavier Desrosiers remain hypothetical.

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