SALABERRY-DE-VALLEYFIELD, Que. — A motorist who is alleged to have run down a young girl on his 18th birthday and had fought to be tried as a minor has been ordered to stand trial as an adult.
A Quebec court judge ruled Monday that Brandon Pardi must be tried on charges of dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death.
The ruling from Judge Marie-Chantal Doucet came after an emotional day of testimony from witnesses put forth by the prosecution.
The court heard graphic testimony about the accident that killed a cherubic-looking toddler as she put up Halloween decorations on her babysitter’s lawn.
“The evidence is sufficient to send you to trial,” Doucet told the accused in a quick ruling from the bench.
Pardi’s lawyer, Pierre Joyal, entered a not-guilty plea on both counts and the case will return to court on Jan. 25.
The developments occurred after a preliminary hearing Monday near Montreal, and after months of back-and-forth legal wrangling over whether Pardi should be tried as a minor.
Pardi, now 20, and another man who cannot be identified are charged in the death of three-year-old Bianca Leduc in suburban L’Ile Perrot.
The case has garnered national attention because Pardi turned 18 on the exact same day that the fatal accident occurred — Oct. 31, 2007 — and he struggled to be tried as a minor. Lower courts bickered over whether the more lenient youth laws should apply to Pardi, but the Supreme Court of Canada ultimately refused to hear his case and that ultimately left Pardi to face justice as an adult. The dead toddler’s mother listened to Monday’s emotional testimony, and urged a crackdown on young speed demons.
Nadine Leduc is just 23 years old herself, but the grieving mother says young motorists must be made to think twice about speeding. “We need to slow down and make our stops,” she said, at times sobbing quietly as she listened to eye-witnesses recount the last moments of her young daughter’s life.
“The laws aren’t there for nothing. Accidents happen but people aren’t listening and they think the laws are there to be contradicted.” Pardi faces one count each of dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death. He had a learner’s licence and wasn’t supposed to be driving on his own.