Youth dri­ver takes stand in Bianca Le­duc trial

Premiere edition - - LA UNE -

A21-year-old man took the stand in his de­fence Tues­day in a Sa­la­ber­ry-deVal­ley­field youth cour­troom, where his trial had re­su­med af­ter a four month de­lay. The Pin­court man, who can­not be na­med be­cause he was a mi­nor at the time of the ac­ci­dent, was com­po­sed when stan­ding be­fore Youth Court Judge Ma­rio Gervais wea­ring a but­ton down shirt and slacks. He told the court about the ac­ci­dent that clai­med the lit­tle girl's life. He and his long-time friend, Bran­don Par­di, were sup­po­sed to ce­le­brate Par­di's 18th bir­th­day that day. The plan was for the ac­cu­sed, who had got­ten his dri­ver's li­cense just five days ear­lier, to have pi­cked Par­di up at his Notre-Dame-de-l'Île-Per­rot home. But when he ar­ri­ved he found Par­di sit­ting in his bro­ther's grey Volks­wa­gon Golf. The man said he was "aware" that Par­di did not have his full dri­ver's li­cense, but felt it was not his place to ques­tion his ol­der friend. Then, dri­ving his fa­ther's Pon­tiac Sun­fire, he set off with Par­di fol­lo­wing be­hind in the Golf. And though he no­ti­ced while loo­king in his rear-view mir­ror that Par­di did not seem to be in control of the ma­nual trans­mis­sion car, he kept going. It was while ap­proa­ching a stop si­gn on Des Érables Blvd. at the cor­ner of Gif­fard St. that he be­gan to pa­nic. "(Par­di) came fas­ter and fas­ter be­hind me... I thought he was going to smash the back of my car so I tried to get out of the way, by tur­ning left", he told the court. At the last se­cond, he ad­ded, Par­di swit­ched in­to the left lane on Des Érables just as the Sun­fire be­gan its turn and the two cars hit. The de­fen­dant said he was kno­cked un­cons­cious and awoke on the front lawn of a home smel­ling burnt rub­ber and ga­so­line. "I heard the voice of the ba­by­sit­ter screa­ming, 'Où est la pe­tite, où est la pe­tite?'" he said. Jac­que­line Thomp­son, who lives on Des Érables and wit­nes­sed the ac­ci­dent, tes­ti­fied that she saw the grey car dri­ving "fas­ter than it should," and "dri­ving on the other side of the street." She said the Sun­fire had stop­ped at the stop si­gn, so­me­thing Sû­re­té du Qué­bec col­li­sion re­cons­truc­tion ex­pert Serge Bé­li­veau had de­nied in pre­vious tes­ti­mo­ny. Bé­li­veau al­so conclu­ded the Sun­fire had been tra­ve­ling 65 km/hr at the time of the ac­ci­dent, while Par­di was dri­ving 80 km/hr or more. But de­fence wit­ness Oli­vier Bel­la­vi­gnaLa­doux, a me­cha­ni­cal en­gi­nee­ring ex­pert spe­cia­li­zing in road sa­fe­ty and col­li­sion ana­ly­sis, conclu­ded the Sun­fire was going no fas­ter than 25 km/hr. Bel­la­vi­gna-La­doux ad­di­tio­nal­ly said the cars did not si­des­wipe each other, as tes­ti­fied to by Bé­li­veau, but that Par­di's car col­li­ded with the Sun­fire as it was tur­ning left. Both then ca­ree­ned on­to the lawn where Bianca was han­ging Hal­lo­ween dec- ora­tions in her ba­by­sit­ter's yard. She died when struck by Par­di's car. Both men are char­ged with criminal ne­gli­gence cau­sing death and dan­ge­rous operation of amo­tor ve­hicle cau­sing death. Bianca's mo­ther, Na­dine Le­duc, was in the cour­troom with her fa­mi­ly du­ring the trial. The young wo­man, who re­cent­ly gave birth to a daugh­ter, Sa­rah, said she did not know what to think of the day's events. "To be ho­nest, I don't care about him. It's Bran­don who hit her," Le­duc said. She said she is fo­cu­sing on ca­ring for her ba­by daugh­ter, who she be­lieves has her "own pri­vate an­gel" loo­king out for them. Gervais will ren­der a ver­dict on June 16. Par­di's trial, meanw­hile, will be­gin May 24 in adult criminal court.

PHOTOTHÈQUE

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