How you can drive, pin a person against a tree resulting in their death and call this manslaughter.
Four more years for man convicted in 2007 death of York officer | Posted Toronto | National Post
Newmarket, Ont. • The Toronto man convicted in the 2007 death of a York Regional Police Officer received a 12-year sentence in a Newmarket court on Wednesday.
The Honourable Michelle Fuerst of the Superior Court of Justice, awarded Nadeem Jiwa two-for-one credit for the time he has previously served in pre-trial custody, which means the now 23-year-old will serve another four years and two months in jail.
A jury found Jiwa guilty of manslaughter April 28, after he pinned Detective Constable Robert Plunkett against a tree with the stolen Honda Accord he was driving, severing the 42-year-old officer’s aorta. He was acquitted of the more serious charge of first-degree murder.
As the judge read the sentence before a courtroom packed with Det. Const. Plunkett’s friends, family and fellow officers, Sonja Plunkett and her daughter Amanda maintained their composure as they glanced at each other and nodded.
On the other side of the courtroom, Izaat Jiwa, mother of the accused, burst into tears. Jiwa, who was wearing a grey sweater over a white collared shirt, turned and nodded at his mother.
Outside the court, Ms. Plunkett expressed relief that her family had received some closure after a “very long and unimaginable journey.” One that could easily have been avoided if Jiwa had listened to police commands the night of Aug. 2, 2007, she said.
“[Police] do an honourable, difficult, and selfless job,” she said. “That is what my husband Rob Plunkett was all about.”
Police Chief Eric Joliffe joined Ms. Plunkett outside court and spoke of the long ordeal that both the Plunkett family and the York Regional Police Force has had to endure over the past four years.
“I’m pleased to see that Nadeem Jiwa has received the sentence he was given,” he said.
The maximum possible sentence for manslaughter is life in prison, but there is no required minimum sentence.
The defence had requested a sentence of between five and seven years. The Crown argued that although Jiwa was convicted of manslaughter, he deserved a harsher sentence, in the range of 12 to 14 years.
Judge Fuerst said she took into account the victim-impact statements submitted by the Plunkett family and she found the following statement from Sonja’s submission, particularly poignant: “It took me over a year to have Rob’s cell phone disconnected. I called it several times a day and would wait for it to go to his voicemail,” she said in court last week. “I was afraid that I would forget what his voice sounded like.”
However, Judge Fuerst reminded the court that she cannot be “governed by emotions,” and that her sentence is “not intended as a measure of Plunkett’s life, or the impact of his death on the family.”
She said that while Jiwa grew up in a “loving, supportive environment,” in August 2007 he showed disrespect for his family and a “flagrant disregard,” for the 1 a.m. curfew his mother had set as his surety for bail.
Under recommendation from the Crown, Judge Fuerst determined beyond reasonable doubt that Jiwa knew that the plainclothes officers who had surrounded him as he attempted to remove the airbag from the stolen vehicle he had been driving, were police. She found it highly unlikely that Det. Const. Plunkett, a 22-year-veteran of the force, would fail to identify himself before making an arrest, and that other officers’ testimony supported this. That Jiwa failed to come to Det. Const. Plunkett’s aid when he was injured, instead attempting to flee on foot, stopping only when he realized he was surrounded, further suggests that he was attempting to resist arrest, she said.
Judge Fuerst said that her determination that Jiwa drove the vehicle in an effort to resist arrest, resulting in the death of a police officer acting in the course of his job, “seriously aggravated the sentence.”
As they left the Newmarket courtroom, the Jiwa family said they do not wish to comment on the sentencing. Jiwa’s lawyer, Lawrence Cohen, said he will be discussing the next course of action with his client.
“He was somewhat shocked at the lengthy sentence,” Mr. Cohen said, “but he’s OK.”
The sentencing comes the day after another York Regional Police officer, 32-year-old father of two Const. Garrett Styles, was killed in a traffic stop; the homicide squad is leading the investigation into his death.
Outside court, Ms. Plunkett acknowledged the eerily similar circumstances under which both police officers died.
“My attention is now turning to the Styles family and all members of the York Regional Police at this most difficult time,” she said. “My family extends their deepest condolences. Another journey is just begun.”
Jiwa also received a lifetime weapons prohibition, will be prohibited from operating a motor vehicle for 10 years and was ordered to provide a mandatory DNA sample.