Amalgamated Transit Union Canadian Council

Amalgamated Transit Union Canadian Council

April 09, 2012 10:44 ET

Union Outraged by Lenient Sentence for Bus Driver Attack

REXDALE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 9, 2012) - The Amalgamated Transit Union is outraged by the lenient sentence given to a man convicted of assaulting a bus driver in Vancouver, BC. Provincial Court justice Karen Walker convicted Del Louie of assault and sentenced him to 200 hours of community service. He will serve no jail time.

"We are furious," says Stan Dera, Director of the ATU's Canadian Council. "Del Louie sucker punches a driver, who is merely doing his job, and the court allows him to walk away a free man? Where's the justice in that?"

Louie attacked Coast Mountain driver Charles Dixon, a member of the Canadian Automobile Workers, on February 15, 2011. When Louie attempted to board the bus using the back door, Dixon told him to use the front door. Louie punched Dixon in the face so hard that he broke the bones in Dixon's cheek. Dixon has undergone four surgeries as a result of the attack.

In making her decision, the judge held that Louie's background was a mitigating factor. He is part aboriginal, has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, had been exposed to violence and substance abuse since childhood and was therefore, not responsible for his actions.

Dera points out that bus drivers are in a vulnerable position and are subject to assaults on a regular basis. "There needs to be some deterrent so that the open season on drivers is stopped," Dera says. "When a driver sustains such brutal injuries as in this case, it is incomprehensible to us that a judge would impose no jail time at all."

Dera says his members are frustrated and disappointed with this decision and with what is happening to drivers across the country. "Louie may have had some personal issues, but that does not entitle him to attack a driver at work with no real consequences. Charles Dixon's life will never be the same as a result of Louie's actions. Yet Louie walks away with a slap on the wrist. It's decisions like these that make perpetrators believe they can do whatever they want. If they have a bad day, they can take it out by assaulting a bus driver. The sentence is outrageous and further endangers the lives of drivers everywhere."

The ATU has been proposing changes to the Criminal Code, to increase penalties for assaults on transit drivers. "We are trying to get all levels of government to acknowledge the problem with little effect," says Dera. "How many more drivers must have their faces smashed in or worse, before governments take action? Nobody seems to care that not only are drivers getting assaulted, but passengers are endangered by these attacks, as well. What if that bus had been moving? There could have been even more serious consequences."

"Everyone needs to start taking responsibility in these cases," says Dera. "The assailant who committed this heinous crime, the judge who imposed a ridiculously light sentence, the government who refuses to consider changes to the law to protect vulnerable workers. Everyone must take responsibility."

"Charles Dixon is not a member of our union," Dera says. "But he was the victim of a crime that all of our members face on a daily basis. We hope that he makes a speedy recovery from this violent attack. We are going to do everything in our power, for him and for all drivers, to make governments take notice of this issue and put a stop to this senseless violence."

The Amalgamated Transit Union is the largest labour union for transit workers in North America with over 180,000 members. The ATU membership includes bus, subway, light rail and ferry operators, clerks, baggage handlers, mechanics and others in public transit, inter-city and school bus industries.

Contact Information

  • For more information or to schedule an interview with
    Stan Dera, Canadian Director, ATU,
    please contact his office at
    416-679-8846