Judge should have sent ‘Chair girl’ to jail, serve as a deterrent to others

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TORONTO: Toronto Mayor John Tory slammed the sentence “chair girl” Marcella Zoia received for tossing a chair off a downtown highrise balcony onto a busy highway, saying it won’t serve as a deterrent for her or anyone else filming dangerous conduct and sharing it on social media.

“She should have gone to jail,” the mayor said Wednesday. “She should’ve gone to jail for enough time to send a message to her and everyone else.”

Zoia, now 20, pleaded guilty last year to mischief endangering life in connection with a February 2019 incident that was caught on camera and shared widely online.

The video showed Zoia hurl 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 in court on Feb. 7, ends before you see where exactly the chair lands.

On Tuesday, she was sentenced to two years’ probation, 150 hours of community service and a $2,000 fine.

Justice Mara Greene said that while the act was dangerous, her youth, the fact that she was a first-time offender and the impact the court proceedings had on her life meant confinement would have been too harsh.

Tory said the sentence is another example of the disconnect between expectation and reality some experience in the Canadian justice system.

“It’s not a deterrent. The sentencing demonstrates a kind of out of touch aspect of the justice system we see time to time and it concerns me greatly.”

Zoia’s lawyer had argued the incident cost her client a spot in a college program for dental hygiene.

But Zoia had also seen huge growth in the following of her social media accounts.

The Crown had submitted jail time and also a social media ban as part of the sentence, something Greene rejected.

“I think the idea the Crown had to keep her off social media, for I would have said five years, that was a good idea that was not taken up,” Tory said.

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