No Justice After Vancouver Bus Driver Assault, CAW says

April 10, 2012, 12:40 PM EST

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In the wake of a conditional sentence for a man who assaulted a Vancouver bus driver CAW Local 111 is continuing to push for changes to the criminal code to ensure harsher penalties for assaulting transit drivers.

The local union, which represents more than 3,800 Coast Mountain bus drivers, is seeking changes to the federal criminal code that would ensure assaults of transit operators are treated the same as assaults of police, paramedics and other first responders.

CAW Local 111 President Don MacLeod said the BC provincial court decision on April 3 sends a terrible message.

The conditional sentence was too lenient and provided "no justice" - not for the victim - bus driver Charles Dixon, not for other bus drivers who face assaults and not for bus riders.
"The Crown asked for nine to twelve months in jail because Del Louie had previously been convicted of attacking a woman bus driver, assaulted Dixon and his son and broke his bail conditions three times, including further assaults on a police officer and emergency service workers," MacLeod said in a news release.

"Our members felt even that sentence would have been inadequate but at least a step forward to deterring the ongoing violence against bus drivers," MacLeod said.

"Instead, the Judge gave Del Louie 18 months house arrest and gave bus drivers another message that  the courts do not regard violence against them as serious - a terrible message to send."

MacLeod said bus drivers are furious with the sentence. There have been more than 1000 assaults on bus drivers in Vancouver in the past 10 years and more than 145 since Dixon was attacked in February 2011. Dixon suffered serious injuries to his face, a concussion, neck and other injuries. He has not worked since the assault.

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