Actor in the news 2021: the closely watched criminal trial of Aissatou Diallo comes to its dramatic end

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The Westboro bus crash was a devastating tragedy – a horrific collision with the Westboro train station awning that killed three passengers and left dozens of traumatized people with life-changing injuries – but it wasn’t not a crime.

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This fateful shift of the afternoon rush hour of January 11, 2019 unfolded like any other for Aissatou Diallo, whose only aspiration that day was to complete her itinerary and return home safely. safety with her children.

The rookie bus driver had only been at work for OC Transpo for six months when she got behind the wheel of double-decker bus # 8155 on doomed Highway 269.

The devastating streak unfolded in chaotic seconds as Diallo’s bus descended the ramp to Westboro Station and began to drift to the right, catching the wheels in the ice-filled gutter and hitting a rock wall and a snow bank before hitting the awning of the station.

Passengers Anja Van Beek, 65, Judy Booth, 57, and Bruce Thomlinson, 56, were killed in the crash.

Following a lengthy police investigation, Diallo, 44, was charged with three counts of dangerous driving causing death and 35 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

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She was acquitted of all charges as her closely watched criminal trial ended in dramatic fashion in September.

Diallo never imagined, nor aspired, to be named one of Ottawa’s top journalists in 2021.

“This is a tragic and tragic case, and the degree of human pain and loss suffered by so many has not escaped my notice,” Ontario Court Judge Matthew Webber said briefly. before finding Diallo not guilty of all charges.

Diallo’s trial featured a confrontation of local legal heavyweights, with the Ottawa Crown Attorney’s office turning the case over to two of its top prosecutors, Deputy Attorney General Dallas Mack and Deputy Crown Attorney Louise Tansey.

Diallo was defended by top criminal defense attorneys Solomon Friedman and Fady Mansour, both of whom recently left the powerful Edelson Law to form their own firm, Friedman Mansour LLP.

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The prosecution presented a volume of evidence and relied heavily on the Ottawa Police collision investigation, which included a recreation of the crash scene and a reconstruction of Diallo’s route. 24 hours later with an OC Transpo lead instructor behind the wheel.

Diallo’s defense team called their own collision reconstruction expert, Richard Lamoureux, as the only defense witness, who produced a 94-page report challenging the findings of Ottawa Police crash investigators.

Diallo’s defense attorneys argued that the “blinding” sunlight obscured her vision, while at the same time it was misdirected by an old lane mark that had been repainted – but was still partially visible – from the previous construction.

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The judge sided with the defense when he ruled that the blinding light of the setting sun “would have posed a challenge to drivers” heading west on the Transitway that day, and that the former misleading road marker would have been illuminated by sunlight.

Webber’s decision, as the veteran judge explained, was “based on how she drove the bus, not how it crashed with dire consequences.”

And the way and speed she drove, Webber said, “weren’t dangerous.”

Webber wrote at length in his ruling on new driver training standards that came under scrutiny in Diallo’s trial, and outgoing OC Transpo boss John Manconi assured that the company transport had acted on every recommendation made in a scathing 2020 Auditor General’s report.

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This report included 20 recommendations specific to the training of new drivers.

Meanwhile, more than $ 5 million has been paid to people who filed claims against the city related to the bus crash, and other civil lawsuits are pending.

At least two of the three death claims have been settled, according to the city’s lawyer.

After the acquittal, Jac van Beek, brother of Anja van Beek, called for a public inquiry into the accident.

“It is high time to look at the Westboro bus crash from a public safety perspective rather than accountability,” he wrote. “And to fully understand why it happened, what can be improved … and who is to blame at the top.”

ahelmer@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/helmera

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