A bus driver brutally assaulted over 14 months ago used his return to work Monday to bitterly criticize the judge who handed his assailant an 18-month conditional sentence.
Minutes before boarding a Coast Mountain bus at a Burnaby bus loop, Charles Dixon told reporters that Vancouver Provincial Court Judge Karen Walker should have sent Del Louie to jail.
Dixon's voice cracked several times with emotion as he denounced Walker for having "failed the two victims in this case," referring to himself and his son Aaron, who was also struck by the assailant.
Louie, 22, sucker-punched Dixon, 56, after the driver asked him to enter the bus by the front door on Feb. 15, 2011. Dixon received a concussion, a brain injury and facial injuries.
Dixon's 24-year-old son, Aaron, who was also on the bus, chased Louie after the assault. Louie hit him with a 1.2-metre piece of wood.
In her sentencing decision, Walker said she opted for leniency because of Louie's aboriginal ancestry.
"Judge Walker, I ask you today," said Dixon, "Did I ask for what he did to me? And for what he did to my son? And for what my son witnessed? Did you ever consider those questions before making your sentence report?
"Louie belongs in jail, no doubt in my mind. Or in my son's mind. Or in the mind of plenty of other non-Caucasian Canadians."
The bus driver said that "justice should be colour-blind."
Dixon arrived at work, wearing a black boxing sparring helmet and a pair of red boxing gloves to draw attention to the legal system's response to his beating.
"I am making a statement to the justice system. Or, in my son's and my case, the injustice system," said Dixon.
"That the boxing gloves and headgear should not have to become part of a transit operator's uniform because of your inability to protect us from people like Del Louie."
Dixon said he intends to wear the helmet until he retires to prevent any further concussions during assaults on the job.
If his employer, Coast Mountain Bus Company, objects to the helmet, Dixon intends to get letters from his physician and therapists supporting his decision to wear safety headgear.
Dixon said he will no longer argue with passengers such as Louie who try to ride on buses for free.
"I'm going to probably be like the rest of the bus drivers in the Lower Mainland. I'm going to keep my mouth shut ... and let these people do whatever they damn well please.
"Because that's the way it is now. It's incredible the way some of these people behave on buses."
Dixon said he still suffers from headaches and has problems with his balance despite extensive occupational therapy.
Asked how he felt returning to the steering wheel, knowing that drivers are still frequently assaulted, Dixon said "my legs are shaking. I'm nervous."
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