Men escape jail terms in crash that killed cabbie
Published Tuesday, May 29, 2007 7:06PM EDT
Two young Toronto men will not serve any jail time in the January 2006 death of taxi driver Tahir Kahn, who was killed in a crash on Mount Pleasant Road.
Alexander Ryazanov and Wang-Piao Dumani Ross, both 20, received a one-year house arrest term on Tuesday. After that, they must abide by a curfew for another year.
The two university students received a four-year driving ban. They must also complete 150 hours of community service and serve two years probation. During their year of house arrest, they can still attend university or work.
The offenders were driving their Mercedes-Benz sedans down Mount Pleasant at speeds reaching 140 km/h on the city street where the posted limit is 60 km/h. The drivers were also weaving in and out of traffic.
Ryazanov collided with Khan's taxi as the cab driver was making a left turn near an intersection. The collision crushed the taxi against a pole, killing the 46-year-old immigrant from Pakistan.
Ryazanov and Ross pleaded guilty to one count each of dangerous driving in March.
The Crown was seeking a three-year prison term.
The defence called for a house arrest term, saying the offenders were "driving too quickly," not racing.
Neither Ryazanov nor Ross commented to the media afterwards, but in court, Ross made brief statement. "I feel very sorry and horrible about what happened. I've learned from my mistake," he said.
Ryazanov's lawyer, Todd White, called the punishment fair.
"To send two young 18-year-olds at the time of the offence to the penitentiary in circumstances such as this, I think would be an outrage," White told reporters.
"I don't think that there is any embarrassment to the justice system," added Ross' lawyer David Humphrey.
The judge felt prison terms were not warranted in the case, saying: "neither has tried to blame the other and they had done the right thing, accepting full responsibility and pleading guilty at the right time."
Khan's family, who live in Pakistan, did not attend the sentencing hearing.
A victim impact statement from Khan's wife was read in court in March. It recounted the pain she suffered after his death.
"You can't imagine, the loss is so great. No one can imagine the mental torture I've suffered. All our dreams are incomplete," the statement said.
Khan's death sparked outrage and grief among Toronto's large community of recent immigrants and people working towards citizenship.
Khan was mere days from becoming a Canadian citizen after spending six years working in the country to support his family at home.
Friends prepared a memorial ceremony for Khan on the day before he was to take the oath of citizenship. It sparked calls to the federal government to grant citizenship to Khan posthumously.
With a report from CTV's Roger Petersen