A judge gave a drunk driver who left a father of four paralyzed a longer sentence than the Crown had asked for.
Christopher Malloy, 52, had pleaded guilty to three counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm and one count of failing to stop at the scene of an accident in Surrey Provincial Court, and the Crown recommended a prison sentence in the upper range of 12 to 18 months for the impaired driving charges and another 60 days to be served consecutively for fleeing a collision. The defence requested a sentence in the lower range of 12 to 18 months.
Judge Danny Sudeyko, citing Malloy’s lengthy history of driving infractions, instead sentenced him Monday to two years less a day for the impaired driving charges and another two months to be served concurrently for fleeing the scene of an accident.
Malloy, whose blood alcohol level was reportedly more three times the legal limit, clipped a car from behind while driving an SUV westbound on Fraser Highway one night in January 2015. He then drove through a red light at the intersection of 152 Street at approximately 150 km/h before hitting a vehicle driven by Gurb Aujla, a father of four who was returning home from hockey practice with his 10-year-old son. The impact sent the Aujlas’ Saturn Vue into oncoming traffic, where it was struck a second time by an eastbound vehicle. The crash left Aujla paralyzed from the chest down, his son received minor injuries, and Georgia Yost, a young mother and the driver of the third vehicle, sustained a broken arm and a serious head injury.
“I find that Mr. Malloy’s decision on this occasion to drink alcohol to an extreme excess and then drive recklessly and at enormous speeds along a busy arterial road made the likelihood of a collision causing serious injury entirely probable,” said Sudeyko when rendering his verdict. “The significant harm caused by Mr. Malloy based on his intentional risk-taking … supports a high level of moral culpability and a sentence that incorporates principles of retribution. The message to be sent to Mr. Malloy, and even more importantly to others, is that the consequences of driving after drinking and driving in a dangerous manner, often have tragic consequences to innocent parties and that there will be serious consequences to those who do so.”
Malloy, who has no prior criminal record, was also given two years of probation with conditions forbidding the consumption of alcohol or non-prescription drugs, as well as a three-year driving ban upon his release. He is also forbidden from having any contact with the Aujla or Yost families outside of legal proceedings.
Malloy, a self-admitted alcoholic since the age of 17, 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. He was originally scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 26 but the judge made the surprise announcement that he had concerns about the range of sentence lawyers had asked for, which he called “not appropriate for this particular case.”
Aujla, a former longshoreman and the family’s sole breadwinner, said he was pleased to see a stiffer sentence but thinks it is still not long enough.
“I’m glad it wasn’t what the Crown and defence were recommending but it could still be higher for the amount of damage he did,” said Aujla. “I also don’t think he should ever be allowed to drive again and I hope he never drinks again. But at least now we can try to move on. I do know that I’ve got it good with family support and support from my friends and work and everything.”
The judge heard several personal accounts from the Aujla family and their supporters describing the financial and emotional devastation the incident has caused them during the sentencing hearing last month.
“I have had the benefit of hearing from many people through the impact statements and having reread those impact statements as well,” Sudeyko told Aujla while Malloy was being taken away in handcuffs. “This has been tragic for you and tragic for all the parties but I can say that I certainly recognize that, not only within your family but from your work community and the community in general, you strike me as a man who offers a great deal more than just the use of his legs.”