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Preliminary hearing begins for Quebec man charged with murder in bus crash at daycare center

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UPDATE: On March 28, 2024, a judge ordered that Pierre Ny St-Amand be tried for premeditated murder in connection with this case.

The preliminary hearing began Monday for a Quebec man accused of driving a city bus into a Montreal-area daycare center last year, killing two young children.

Pierre Ny St-Amand was arrested after a public bus crashed into the front of a daycare center in the Sainte-Rose district of Laval, Quebec, on February 8, 2023, killing two young children, ages five and four, and injuring six others.

The 52-year-old former city bus driver is accused of two counts of premeditated murder and seven other charges, including attempted murder and grievous bodily harm.

A publication ban sought by the Crown includes the names of the young victims and all evidence presented this week.

Quebec Court Judge François Landry will preside over the hearing and decide whether there is enough evidence to take the case to trial.

“Essentially, we are talking about several witnesses, police officers, witnesses who acted on February 8, 2023,” prosecutor Simon Blais told reporters outside the courtroom on Monday.

“There is a publication ban in place to ensure that jurors selected in the trial are not biased by what they might hear in the media.”

Due to a lack of space in the Laval courthouse, the hearing will take place in Saint-Jerôme in the province of Quebec, north of Montreal.

St-Amand listened impassively to the witness statements on Monday morning. The public prosecutor has announced that it will call 13 witnesses over the next four days.

The witnesses planned include parents whose children were at the daycare and intervened after the bus accident, police officers and family members of the defendant. A psychiatrist is also expected to testify.

Wearing a grey sweatshirt and with short, grey-streaked hair, St-Amand took notes on a clipboard as he sat in the dock and occasionally consulted with his lawyers.

He entered the courtroom in handcuffs. His lawyers demanded that they be removed so he could take notes. Instead, guards handcuffed him more loosely because the courthouse manager considered the defendant “unpredictable.”