WINNIPEG -- Police in Ontario admit they put an apparently mentally troubled ex-convict on a Winnipeg-bound Greyhound bus Sunday afternoon -- but don't know how he managed to sneak a knife on board that was later used to stab a sleeping passenger.
Monday's revelation has sparked multiple investigations and left critics howling in protest, saying the case further underscores how dangerous public bus transportation is in Canada.
"It's absolutely astounding," said Winnipeg defence lawyer Jay Prober, who recently filed a lawsuit against the RCMP and Greyhound following the July murder and beheading of Winnipeg resident Tim McLean on board a Greyhound near Portage la Prairie.
"This latest incident is just a vindication of the lawsuit, not that we needed it. What's it going to take for Greyhound to do something to protect their passengers? Are they waiting for someone else to get killed?"
David Wayne Roberts, 28, of Manitouwadge, Ont., has been charged with aggravated assault and breach of probation. He will appear in a Sault Ste. Marie courtroom Tuesday morning.
The 20-year-old victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries after passengers say he was stabbed in the chest while sitting on the bus around 4:15 p.m. ET Sunday. He remains in hospital but is expected to be released later this week. His name and hometown haven't been released.
Winnipeg author Anita Daher was on the bus and witnessed the attack. She told the Free Press on Sunday night the attack was unprovoked and happened shortly after police brought the man on board.
Ontario Provincial Police and municipal police confirmed her story Monday, saying there was no apparent history between the victim and the accused and no motive has been established.
Police said Roberts boarded the bus in Wawa, Ont., carrying a ticket that had been paid for with social-assistance funds supplied to him by the Wawa municipal police earlier in the day. The OPP confirmed they were asked to assist in getting Roberts on his way.
Wawa Sgt. Larry Ross told CBC they first dealt with Roberts early Sunday morning when they charged him with causing a public disturbance. Roberts has a criminal history and is currently on probation for unspecified convictions. Ross said they briefly detained Roberts but released him later in the morning.
Roberts then returned to the police station a few hours later, seeking to be taken to hospital for what Ross called "psychological reasons." Roberts was examined by a doctor but then released after they found no reason to hold him under the Mental Health Act.
Police then stepped in to help get Roberts on his way back home, which they said is a common practice. Ross told CBC they searched him immediately after his arrest and before going to the hospital - but not before he boarded the bus, because there was no valid, lawful reason to do so.