The trial of the fatal attack on a bus driver opens before the ize Court in Pau

Philippe Monguillot's wife, Véronique Monguillot (center), holds a photo of her and her husband during a white march in tribute to the bus driver attacked, in Bayonne (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) on July 5, 2020 and died five days later.

This Sunday July 5, 2020, around 7 p.m., Philippe Monguillot is on duty on line T1 of the tram’bus in Bayonne (Pyrénées-Atlantiques). After months of confinement, life is starting again, only the health mask remains obligatory on public transport. In the back of the vehicle, three drunken young men, one with a dog, joke loudly, sandwiches and cans in their hands. The driver recognizes them, they got on the same line a few hours earlier, without a valid ticket, and he had to force them to buy one at the terminal. At the Balishon stop, a fourth joins them. Philippe Monguillot leaves his cabin, goes to the back of the tram to check them and asks them to pull up their masks which they wear under their chin. They refuse, sneer, insults fly. What followed was a tragedy.

The driver, exasperated, headbutts one of the four young people. He was then pushed out of the bus, kicked and punched, “like you kick a soccer ball”, a witness will say. Philippe Monguillot falls for the first time, a crowd forms, he gets up swaying, a sleeve of his polo shirt torn off, his face bloody, and runs alongside the vehicle. Exasperated, one of his two attackers comes back and punches him violently in the face. The driver tilts his weight backwards, his head hits the pavement violently. Hospitalized in a state of brain death, he died five days later by stopping treatment, the doctors having considered that 99% of his brain was affected. Philippe Monguillot was going to be 59 years old, he was planning to retire soon, he was married and the father of three daughters.

The trial of his attackers opens Friday September 15 before the Pyrénées-Atlantiques ize Court, in Pau. Initially prosecuted for “murder in a meeting”, Wyssem Manai, 24, and Maxime Guyennon, 25, who appear detained, are tried for “fatal ault in a meeting”. Against the advice of the prosecution, the facts were reclified, the investigating judge, then the investigating chamber having ruled out the intention of homicide. This reclification, which makes them face twenty years of criminal imprisonment, should have brought them before a criminal court, exclusively composed of professional magistrates. But the two men being in a state of legal recidivism – they were convicted of other acts, violent thefts, drug trafficking – they come under the jurisdiction of the ize Court.

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