Quebec City police officer accused of mowing down cyclist in 2014 to be tried by judge
Simon Beaulieu faces charges of criminal negligence, dangerous driving in death of Guy Blouin.
A Quebec City police officer, Simon Beaulieu, will go on trial for running over a cyclist with a police cruiser in 2014.
Beaulieu will be tried by a Quebec Court judge on charges of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death.
Witnesses say 48-year-old Guy Blouin was biking the wrong way down a one-way street in the St-Roch neighbourhood on Sept. 3, 2014, when a police car moved at high speed to intercept him. They said they saw the cruiser back up over the cyclist.
Blouin died in hospital several hours later.
Trial by judge
Beaulieu's lawyer had asked for a trial by jury, but his client will be tried by judge alone.
Some observers, such as Quebec City resident Normand Chabot, said they would have preferred a trial by jury. Chabot said he wanted citizens to decide if Beaulieu is guilty.
Crown prosecutor Michael Bourget said he expects the trial to move more quickly than if it were to be a jury trial.
"The investigation went well. There were accusations. We held a preliminary hearing. Now that decision has been rendered. I don't think the population should feel the justice system isn't working." said Bourget.
"I'm certainly glad we are going ahead with the trial," said Sandy McKay, a nurse and street worker in the St-Roch neighbourhood.
He is among those who believe that as a member of a marginalized, low-income community living in St-Roch, Blouin was a victim of police profiling.
McKay is part of a group called Comité 3 septembre created following Blouin's death, in part, to improve the relationship between his clientele and police.
He said even though it's been two years since Blouin's death, people in the neighbourhood are still grieving – and still scared.
"People are afraid when you see that happen," he said. "It could happen to any of them."
Beaulieu's trial date will be set on Dec. 5.
If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison for criminal negligence causing death and 14 years for dangerous driving causing death.