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Sentencing delayed in Christy Mahy case

The defence lawyer for Erjon Kashari argued his remorse and his guilty plea should be mitigating factors in sentencing.
Friends and family of Christy Mahy, including Joni Mahy (second from left) and Brandie Mol (second from right) were at the Richmond Courthouse for the sentencing of Erjon Kashari. May and Mol both gave victim impact statements.

Judge Patrick Chen is reserving his sentencing until Monday in the case of a woman killed by an SUV in Richmond in 2014.

The justice said the delay was required given the amount of information brought forward by the defence lawyer that he needed to go through. 

Christy Mahy was killed after being hit by an SUV driven by Erjon Kashari on Russ Baker Way. The accused left the country four months later to his native Albania - before charges were laid - with permission from the Canadian Border Services Agency. He had withdrawn his refugee claim. 

He was extradited from Albania in the summer of 2020 and pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death. 

Before the scheduled sentencing Tuesday morning, Kashari’s defence lawyer argued that the defendant’s remorse should be a mitigating factor and the fact he pleaded guilty should be a “significant factor” in the case. 

The lawyer cited several circumstances for the delay, including corruption in the Albanian judiciary system, a large-scale earthquake just before his extradition hearing and COVID-19.

The court heard Monday that Kashari - who was in Canada on a work permit at the time of the accident – wasn’t asked any questions by the CBSA as to why he was withdrawing his refugee claim.

However, his defence lawyer said, during the three months Kashari was waiting to leave Canada, an officer from the CBSA did enquire with Richmond RCMP if “there were any concerns” about him leaving the country.

“The CBSA never heard back from the RCMP until long after Mr. Kashari had left Canada,” added the lawyer.

The judge heard victim impact statements on Monday afternoon, from Christy Mahy’s sister Joni and from her friend Kelly Scherk. 

Joni Mahy spoke about the loss of not having her sister, whom she called her “best friend,” to go through life’s events, like when her son was born. She said the accident has caused her anxiety and has put a strain on her other relationships. 

“In this case, the actions that resulted in Christy’s death are ones where I lost my sister, my father lost a daughter, my son lost ever meeting his aunt and the rest of the world lost knowing a world with Christy still in it,” Joni said.  

Scherk spoke about how Christy should have been at family events like when her sister graduated from university and gave birth to her son. 

She also spoke about how Christy was never able to be a mother. 

“She would have been a fantastic aunt and an even better mom,” Scherk said. “The fact that she will never get to experience this is possibly the most crushing reality.” 

Kashari spoke on Tuesday morning at the Richmond Courthouse, breaking down in tears saying he was sorry and pledging to be a “good man” for the rest of his life. 

Witnesses testify to excessive speed

On Monday morning, the court heard from witnesses how Kashari had been driving recklessly and at excessive speeds over the No. 2 Road Bridge and on Russ Baker Way, seconds before the fatal crash. 

Accident analysis indicated that Kashari was driving between 80 and 100 kilometres an hour when he had to break and swerve to avoid traffic in front of him that had either stopped or slowed for a yellow or red light at Russ Baker Way and the Dinsmore Bridge. 

It was then that he lost control, went over a median and struck Mahy, who was either sitting on her bike or standing with it on the sidewalk. 

Kashari attempted to blame his OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) on his loss of control, claiming he has to check his rear view mirror five times when changing lanes. 

He also claimed the cars in front slowed for no apparent reason and said a bolt in his tire, which he had repairs on earlier that day, had caused his tire to blow. 

- with files from Alan Campbell