The sentencing of a drunk driver who paralyzed a father of four has been delayed by two weeks after the judge expressed “concerns” to Crown Counsel on Wednesday (Oct. 26) about the length of jail time being requested.
Christopher Malloy, whose blood alcohol level was reportedly more three times the legal limit, was fleeing an earlier accident when he slammed into a vehicle driven by Gurb Aujla from behind, sending the car into oncoming Fraser Highway traffic, where it was struck by another vehicle. Aujla, 54, is now paralyzed from the chest down and two others were also injured in the crash. Malloy, 52, has pleaded guilty to three counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm and one count of failing to remain at the accident scene.
Crown Counsel Kim Wendel recommended Judge Danny Sudeyko give a prison sentence in the upper range of 12 to 18 months and 60 days to be served consecutively for failing to remain at the scene, while Malloy’s defence lawyer, Sarah Leamon, is seeking a sentence in the lower range of 12 to 18 months.
But despite the similar jail time, it was not an actual joint submission, a legal term for when both the Crown and the offender’s lawyer (or duty counsel) agree on the sentence they are asking the judge to give. In most cases, a joint submission will have been agreed to by lawyers in a resolution meeting.
“There was a submission on behalf of the defence that was not a joint submission that we’d arranged and we did wish to clarify that issue,” Wendel told the court. “It is not a joint submission in respect to range; we just happened to agree that that is the appropriate range.”
Aujla, a former longshoreman was in Surrey Provincial Court surrounded by family and supporters for the sentencing, said he hoped this will result in a longer jail term given that Malloy was speeding away from a previous accident at an estimated 150 km/h in a 60 km/h zone when their vehicles collided in January 2015.
“Those are extenuating circumstances,” said Aujla. “He was escaping from another crime, so the judge should consider that also. Maybe the judge is considering it. I think the Crown should have been asking for more.”
While Malloy has no criminal record, his driving history shows numerous infractions dating back nearly 30 years. He has received a total of six 24-hour driving prohibitions in the last eight years as well as a 90-day driving ban for refusing a roadside breathalyzer test in 2014.
The judge is scheduled to deliver a sentence Nov. 7.