A man convicted of beating up an Ottawa bus operator might be banned from riding OC Transpo buses or the OTrain. That's what the bus driver wants. He says it's the right thing to do. Now the bus company’s general manager says he’s looking into that possibility.  

Last Friday, 38-year-old Paul Ness was handed a 12-month suspended sentence for attacking bus driver John Karagiannis last April.  Karagiannis says he is still struggling to return to work.  Bus drivers are outraged by the sentence and want Ness banned from their busses.

Karagiannis says the attack left him reeling from his injuries.  He spoke over the phone to CTV Ottawa about the April 22nd attack.

"I had broken rib, an injured lower back, bloodied nose,” says the veteran bus driver.

But Karagiannis says he felt assaulted a second time last Friday when the court handed Ness a suspended sentence. 

“I'm still doing physio.  He's home relaxing. He's going to work, he hasn't missed a paycheck.  The system worked for him and tossed me aside.”

Bus drivers, furious with the decision; have started petitioning the city to have Ness banned from the buses for life.

In an on-line Facebook account, driver Brad Clarke wrote "Since his act caused such a serious incident and trauma to one of our employees, Paul Ness should lose his right to ride our buses forever.  I am demanding that this action be taken."

OC Transpo says it's currently looking into that possibility.  It's done it in the past.

"There's what's called a peace ban,” says General Manager John Manconi, “it’s notice to behave and then the extreme ban which is a full ban, stay off our property and we can do that under the provincial (Trespass) Act.  If we can, we will impose a ban.”

The court has banned Ness from riding on Karagiannis' bus.  Ness' lawyer says the assault on the bus driver was minor and believes a full out ban is not warranted.

"If you start banning everyone who's committed a criminal act from living their lives,” says Defence lawyer Stuart Konyer,”that doesn't get us anywhere either.”  :

The union representing drivers says right now, it may be the only way to keep its members and the public safe.

"We have someone who has a history of assaults,” says Craig Watson, the President of the Amalgamated Transit Union, “it would mean quite possibly he would then become violent towards an operator.  We don't want to put our operators at risk.”