A disabled 60-year-old who is prohibited from driving a vehicle because of a history of drinking and driving will have to appear for having traveled with the help of a scooter.
Struck by polio from his early childhood while staying at the Hull orphanage, Denis Beaumont was the victim of mockery from his comrades because of his disability.
“People laughed at me because I was limping and had prostheses from another era. I looked like a real robot, ”recounts with emotion the man, now 63, who lives in Val-des-Monts, in the Outaouais.
Denis Beaumont later fell into alcohol and accumulated impaired driving tickets. His license to drive a motor vehicle was suspended for life and he was sentenced to six months in prison in 2003.
“After that, I said to myself: ‘no more follies’. I sold everything: my vehicle, my snowmobile, my boat engines, ”he confirms.
However, his illness caught up with him over the years, making it increasingly difficult to walk. “I could walk, but it was difficult and it took me days to recover. Otherwise, I always had to rely on Pierre, Jean, Jacques to go do my errands. “
The sixty-year-old therefore decided, last June, to invest in an “all-terrain” scooter that can be used both summer and winter, the Monster X from Heartway. This impressive-sized vehicle is approved by Health Canada as a mobility aid.
In the morning of 1er July, Mr. Beaumont was sitting peacefully at the outdoor picnic table of a convenience store, sipping coffee, his brand new scooter by his side, when police arrived, arrested him and grabbed his vehicle.
“I was not at the scene, but I wonder about the need to search the gentleman and seize his vehicle,” said Raymond-Noël Vaillancourt, himself a former police officer for nearly 25 years and owner of Super Moto Électrique, the business where Mr. Beaumont got his scooter.
Denis Beaumont had to pay $ 368 to recover his vehicle. For fear of further reprisals, he has since stored it in his small apartment, having even had to remove the patio door to fit it into the tiny apartment.
“I try to rehabilitate myself and, there, I am barred from the wheels. I do not know what to think, ”said Mr. Beaumont, who remains almost always confined in his small apartment since the events. “Because I have been in trouble with the law in the past, will I have to pay the price until I die?” he asks himself.
Unless the situation turns around, the case will be heard on January 21 at the Gatineau courthouse.
A similar case rejected in 2018
The situation facing Denis Beaumont is in all respects identical to another, which occurred to the day two years earlier in Sherbrooke, but the case had been abandoned even before being heard in court.
At the time, the prosecution concluded that, taking into account the facts and particulars of his case, Denis Durand would not file evidence in court. The question therefore remains unresolved, because it has never been debated in court.
“The debate is still current, because there seems to be an inconsistency between provincial and federal laws, which could infringe the rights and freedoms of a person who needs mobility assistance to get around and , thus, to be discriminatory ”, mentioned to the QMI Agency the lawyer who had defended the Durand case at the time, Mr.e Jean-Guillaume Blanchette.