Suspect in school crash remorseful
Oct 29, 2012 / 7:32 pm
The lawyer for a man accused of driving his minivan into an Alberta classroom, killing one girl and leaving two others in hospital, says his client is remorseful and the defence can't understand why the charges were upgraded Monday.
Richard Edward Benson appeared in St. Paul provincial court looking dishevelled and unshaven, with a black patch over his left eye, as lawyers argued over whether he should be released on bail. Charges of dangerous driving were replaced with charges of criminal negligence causing death and bodily harm.
"I don't think it's justified," said defence lawyer Brian Beresh outside court. "Generally criminal negligence is wanton and reckless disregard. So if someone tells you not to drive, then you decide to drive, that could be wanton and reckless."
As sheriffs lead Benson from the court after the matter was adjourned Monday, he said: "I do apologize ... I'm sorry."
He has yet to enter a plea on the charges.
Details presented at the hearing are under a publication ban. Judge Kathleen Williams said she would have a bail decision ready for Thursday afternoon.
Benson was initially charged with three counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and with resisting arrest and possession of marijuana. The day after the crash, one of the three students injured in the crash died in hospital.
The 46-year-old now faces a charge of criminal negligence causing death and two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, along with the charges of resisting arrest and drug possession.
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