TransLink CMBC applaud jail sentences for assaults
October 17, 2012
TransLink, CMBC applaud jail sentences for assaults
Time behind bars recognizes the seriousness of the crimes
As a 20-year-old man awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to assaulting a bus driver and stabbing a passenger earlier this year, TransLink and the Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) are encouraged by two jail sentences handed down to others who assaulted transit operators.
“Whether it’s spitting, hitting, grabbing, or threatening, assaults on transit employees are deplorable, as they can put the lives of literally dozens of people at risk,” says CMBC Vice-President, Operations, Stan Sierpina. “We are pleased that the courts are recognizing the seriousness of these crimes and we believe that the threat of jail time will send a message to the public that attacking our employees will not be tolerated.”
The incidents occurred in June: in one, a man threatened to slash the throat of an operator in Burnaby, on Edmonds Street near Canada Way. This was the continuation of an incident two days before, in which the man was involved in an altercation with another passenger. Miroslav Butara was sentenced to a total of 15 days in jail for uttering threats (an assault charge was stayed).
The second incident happened on the Downtown East Side, where a woman, Priscilla Crain, spat on a bus driver after he had refused to give her a free ride. She was arrested on the scene, and in addition to the assault, was also charged with a drug offence. She subsequently pleaded guilty to the assault and received a total of 17 days behind bars.
This is a positive sign in terms of sentencing related to cases in which a transit operator has been viciously attacked; some victims have been unable to return to work for a very long time. These court decisions also come as Transit Police are concentrating more resources on the bus system, further enhancing protection for operators.
TransLink, CMBC and the Canadian Autoworkers’ Union have been working to convince governments at all levels to create legislation that provides for a mandatory jail term for those convicted of assaulting transit workers.