'What makes any drunk driver’s crime any less serious than the crime Marco Muzzo committed?'

Marco Muzzo (centre) leaves the Newmarket courthouse surrounded by family members on Thursday, February 4, 2016. Muzzo was released on bail after pleading guilty to a fatal drunk driving crash resulting in the deaths of three children and their grandfather

It’s not just difficult to feel sorry for Marco Muzzo, it’s impossible.

Driving drunk. Two or three times over the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration. Roaring through a stop sign on a perfectly clear day. Slamming into a minivan and killing four people – three precious children and their grandfather, and inflicting serious injuries on two others.

Superior Court Justice Michelle Fuerst will hear sentencing arguments later this month.

There’s no doubt Muzzo is going to do serious time.

This past October, a Toronto court sentenced a drunk driver to five years in prison for killing two people.

In November, a woman in Pembroke was also sentenced to five years for killing one man while she was driving drunk.

But given the way the system works, it looks as if we’re punishing these people not because they drove while they were drunk, but because they were unlucky enough to kill someone while they were doing it.

The OPP reports that it laid more than 6,000 charges last year against alcohol or drug impaired drivers. 6,000! On average that’s about 17 drivers every single day of the year. I wonder how many of them blew through a stop sign but had the good fortune not to do it when another vehicle was in the intersection.

They were being just as irresponsible as Muzzo, but we don’t recognize that.

Someone caught driving drunk for the first time doesn’t get away scot free. They may even feel hard-done-by when their car is impounded for seven days, they lose their licence for up to a year, and they have to pay a $180 fine. Then they have to spend more money to enroll in an alcohol education program, and install and maintain an ignition interlock device.

Sure, that’s punishment, but it isn’t sending the right message.

The Criminal Code says a sentence should be “proportionate to the gravity of the offence.” But that’s not what’s happening.

The system is punishing people not for what they did, but for the consequences of what they did.

What makes any drunk driver’s crime any less serious than the crime Muzzo committed? They put themselves in exactly the same circumstances. They faced the exact same potential for causing monstrous harm to others. But because the stars aligned for them and they managed to get caught before they killed someone, their debt to society isn’t nearly as onerous.

It is inevitable that when Justice Fuerst hands down her sentence, there will be those who say she wasn’t tough enough on Marco Muzzo. At the very least, he’ll always live with the images of three dead children in his head.

It’s the other 6,000 we should worry about. They probably don’t think they did anything terribly wrong. We haven’t told them they did.

Source: The Star

Last updated on: 2016-02-27 | Link to this post