French bus driver fakes his own assault in bus so that he can get sick leave

ERGY-PONTOISE, France (AFP) - A 23-year-old bus driver in suburban Paris was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence on Friday for staging his own assault in a ploy to obtain paid sick leave.

With the aid of a masked colleague cast as his attacker, the driver claimed to have been assaulted on his route in the north-west Paris suburb of Goussainville on Dec 13. The driver told the police he had been beaten by the assailant after thwarting the intruder's supposed attempt to steal the bus' cash box.

Despite the presence of a security camera in the bus that caught the scene, police sources told AFP that the victim's testimony contained "several aspects that weren't credible". An investigation established that "the aggression was in reality staged with the help of a colleague".

Taken in for questioning on Thursday, the driver quickly confessed and was convicted on Friday for "reporting a fabricated crime", and "attempted fraud" in seeking to obtain paid leave.

His supporting actor colleague was also given a six-month suspended sentence for "complicity".

In January, two employees of national railway SNCF were convicted of fabricating attacks in order to secure paid recovery time.