Sentencing for 'chair girl' has been put over to March 30
Marcella Zoia leaves a Toronto court, on Friday, February 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
TORONTO -- A 20-year-old woman who tossed a chair off a downtown Toronto balcony over a busy highway last year was expected to learn her legal fate on Thursday morning, but her sentencing hearing was delayed by two weeks.
Marcella Zoia’s defence lawyer Gregory Leslie and Crown prosecutor Heather Keating told reporters the matter was put over until March 30 because the judge overseeing the case has been ill and was therefore unable to finalize her decision.
Speaking to reporters at the courthouse, Leslie said the decision for the hearing to be put over had “nothing to do with his client.” Zoia was not present inside the courtroom on Thursday.
Last month, Zoia, dubbed “chair girl,” told a courtroom she was “very sorry for her actions” after Justice Mara Greene listened to three hours of sentencing submissions from Leslie and Keating.
“I am very sorry for my actions… I take this as a lesson,” Zoia’s prepared statement said in part.
On Nov. 15, 2019, Zoia pleaded guilty to mischief endangering life in connection with a February incident that was caught on camera and shared widely online.
The video showed Zoia launch a chair off a balcony on the 45th floor of a condo building over the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard. No injuries were reported in the incident and the video, which was played frame by frame at the Feb. 7 hearing, ends before you see where exactly the chair lands.
The Crown, who has repeatedly questioned whether Zoia is truly remorseful for her actions, is seeking a sentence that includes between four and six months in jail and two years of probation. Keating is also asking for Zoia to attend counselling for alcohol consumption and participate in 240 hours of community service.
As well, the Crown is asking the judge to consider a ban on Zoia posting to social media during her probation.
Keating has argued that Zoia has turned the social media response to her action into a brand and employment.
Meanwhile, Zoia’s lawyer stated during the hearing that his client “never intended to get any social media attention.”
Leslie is seeking a suspended sentence with “various conditions,” including counselling for alcohol consumption. He said “drinking excessively” became an issue for his client while she was in high school, which he argued is relevant to the case due to the fact that Zoia had been drinking the night before the video was recorded.
In his submission, Leslie added that his client is “not going to benefit in any way from going to jail.”
“She is doing everything she can to be a positive influence,” he said. “There is nothing to suggest that she will commit any other offences.”
Zoia has been out on bail since February 2019, with conditions that she live with her mother, refrain from contact with the four other individuals named in the incident and stay away from the Maple Leaf Square Condos, where the incident took place.
Here are updates from inside the courtroom.