After so much that was wrong, Marco Muzzo is doing the right thing.

He is now admitting that he was driving drunk on Sept. 27 when his vehicle slammed into a van, killing Gary Neville, 65, and his three grandchildren, Daniel Neville-Lake, 9, brother Harrison, 5 and sister Milly, 2. By serving notice that he intends to plead guilty Feb. 4 and accept responsibility for this horrific carnage, Muzzo is sparing his victims’ family years of further pain and heartache.

And that is no small act of mercy.

As a member of the wealthy Muzzo developer clan, he certainly has the financial resources to drag this case through the courts. With ace defence lawyer Brian Greenspan by his side, who knows what success he may have had? At the very least, he could have delayed the inevitable for several years.

Instead, Muzzo never even applied for bail. He missed his wedding and Christmas. True, that will serve him well when a sentence is determined — the going rate is 1.5 days for every day served in pre-trial custody — but it can’t be easy time for a guy used to the finer things in life.

While the 29-year-old remained in jail all these months, there was much speculation that he was negotiating a plea deal, that he was planning to exchange a guilty plea for a lighter sentence. We’ve now learned that’s not the case, that the Crown and defence will have no joint submission on sentencing when they come before the judge next month. So this impending guilty plea is no cynical ploy to get off easy.

Instead, it looks like Muzzo is actually prepared to accept responsibility like a man.

Of course, it’s not enough. Nothing will ever bring back those adorable children or their loving grandfather. No sentence will be long enough to compensate for what Muzzo has stolen from those kids’ shattered parents. No words of apology will come close to filling the gaping hole he has torn in their lives.

As Jennifer Neville-Lake told reporters, the bedrooms in her Brampton home will still be as empty, no matter what Muzzo does.

But as difficult as it may be to imagine, he could have made it so much worse.

We saw first-hand what that looked like: On Aug. 5, 2012, after a night of drinking with his buddies, 19-year-old Sabastian Prosa got into his SUV and drove the wrong way on Hwy. 427, finally ploughing into the minivan filled with members of the Wijeratne family on their way home from a Florida vacation.

Jayantha “Neil” Wijeratne, 49, and his beautiful 16-year-old daughter, Eleesha, were killed instantly. That was the first tragedy for the family. The second was living through the ordeal that followed.

It took three tortuous years for that case to wind its slow way through the courts. Surviving family members were forced to sit in the courtroom for endless days as Prosa protested his innocence — despite evidence that he was driving with almost twice the legal limit. They had to listen to his spectacularly insulting defence that someone must have slipped a club drug into his drink and that he wasn’t really to blame. They had to worry that a Charter challenge by his clever lawyer would actually succeed in getting him off on a legal technicality.

Everyone has a right to defend themselves — but the overwhelming evidence in the case and the nonsensical excuse mounted by this drunk driver just seemed desperate and heartless.

Wijeratne’s widow, who survived the crash, had to relive the horrific collision over and over again. She and her son had to hear about their loved one’s life-ending injuries, see the photos of the mangled metal, revisit the worst moment in their lives.

It was pure agony for them. You could see how the process wore them down a little more every day. By the time Prosa was found guilty and sentenced to five years this past autumn, the Wijeratnes were limp from the ruthless exercise in “justice.”

So for Muzzo to spare the Neville-Lake family that cruelty is the least he owes them. And thankfully, he has recognized that, as well.

Source: Toronto Sun


Last updated on: 2016-02-01 | Link to this post