Zoia, 19, is facing charges of mischief endangering life, mischief involving damage to property and common nuisance for allegedly tossing a chair from an upper-floor balcony toward the busy Gardiner Expressway.
Leslie said his client is currently in Florida doing a promotional shoot for a hotel chain and will be back in Toronto this weekend.
“There is a brand new hotel in Miami and she’s been asked . . . because of who she is,” Leslie said at the courthouse.
Zoia is allowed to travel so she is not breaching any bail conditions.
“I think they (the hotel chain) wanted somebody who has a bit of exposure to social media, so they asked her and they’re paying her to be there, so good for her.”
He couldn’t immediately remember the name of the hotel chain.
Leslie said he was unable to have her reinstated in a dental hygiene program that expelled her after the news stories broke about her arrest.
“Hopefully once this is all over with, assuming that she wants to pursue that career, then hopefully she’ll be able to do so.”
Leslie said he was misquoted in an earlier report that said he expected the charges would be withdrawn. Rather, Leslie said Thursday he hopes she will receive a conditional discharge so she will receive no jail time and won’t have a criminal record.
The Crown’s position is “completely different,” he said, adding “we’re miles apart at this point.” She could face “significant” jail time — but won’t, he said.
Leslie said he understands the seriousness of the charges but believes the appropriate outcome would be for her to perform community service, which would be “good for her and good for the public.”
He suggested other such cases would have already settled, but that prosecutors are reluctant to do so because of the “media frenzy” around the case.
Within two weeks of the February incident, someone at his law office found three other examples online of people throwing items from high places, including at least one chair.
“You might not be able to see who it is,” unlike the video that went viral clearly showing Zoia tossing the chair.
Leslie reiterated what he said after Zoia’s arrest — that peer pressure made her do it.
“If you could hear the (video) audio . . . ‘throw the chair, throw the chair.’ I’m not justifying it in any way. People react to peer pressure differently. She made a mistake, she’s paying for it.”
Betsy Powell is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and courts. Follow her on Twitter: @powellbetsy