A novice driver who had been drinking and speeding recklessly along Bloor Street before crashing into a light pole at Parliament Street, killing his best friend and a female passenger, has been sentenced to two years less a day in jail and received a 10-year driving prohibition.
In April, a jury convicted Galeeb Abau-Jabeen of criminal negligence causing the death of Mohammad Mohammad and of criminal negligence causing bodily harm to Elif Gozgoz.
Abau-Jabeen, who had a G2 licence, was not permitted to drive with any alcohol in his system. He was 23 at the time of the Nov. 28, 2016 crash.
Naveen Moukbal, a passenger in the vehicle, testified during the trial that Abau-Jabeen was weaving and swooping in and out of traffic like “bumper car stuff,” trying to show off to her and Gozgoz. She told court that Gozgoz told his friend to “drive properly, I don’t want to die in the car.” Moukbal testified Abau-Jabeen said that would not happen and refused to change his manner of driving.
The Crown had asked for a sentence of between five and seven years. Defence lawyer Christopher Murphy argued the appropriate sentence was two years less a day, a sentence that would see Abau-Jabeen spend time in a provincial jail, not a federal prison. The judge agreed with Murphy.
“While Mr. Abau-Jabeen’s conduct was morally worthy of censure, it was not at the end of the spectrum where the most extreme examples of heinous conduct reside,” the judge wrote. “There was an absence of sense, an absence of manners, an absence of intelligence and an absence of care but there was no intentional gratuitous violence of malice.”
After serving his sentence, Abau-Jabeen is to be placed on probation for three years and perform 240 hours of community service, the judge ordered.
The maximum sentence for criminal negligence causing death is life imprisonment, but “each case turns on the particulars of the criminal negligence, the consequences of the negligence, the circumstances surrounding the incident and the circumstances of the convicted person,” Low noted in her decision.
She said that in the two Ontario Court of Appeal decisions involving criminal negligence causing death that were of the greatest assistance, a sentence of two years less a day was imposed in both.
Low wrote she is satisfied Abau-Jabeen has taken responsibility for his actions and is genuinely remorseful.
“He will bear the burden of his friend Mohammad’s death and Ms. Gozgoz’s injuries for the remainder of his life. He appears to have been significantly affected by the tragic results of his actions and he is, it appears to me, a chastened person.”
The 10-year driving ban — which the prosecution asked for — goes into effect after he is released from jail, Low said. The defence argued that because of a legislative change the court did not have the authority to impose a driving ban upon conviction. This time, the judge sided with prosecutors Sean Doyle and Andrew Max.
“I impose the driving ban for the protection of the public and for denunciation of Mr. Abau-Jabeen’s conduct. Mr. Abau-Jabeen did not have the maturity of mind to be in control of an automobile at the time of the incident. With the passage of time and with sober reflection and greater responsibility, Mr. Abau-Jabeen will learn, it is hoped, to have respect for the lives and safety of others.”
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