A sentencing hearing for a woman, known as “Chair Girl,” who pleaded guilty to a mischief charge for tossing a patio chair off a downtown Toronto highrise balcony has been delayed until Feb. 7.
Marcella Zoia, who was 19 years old at the time of the incident, pleaded guilty to one count of mischief causing danger to life in November.
Zoia admitted to being the person seen throwing a chair off a condominium towards the Gardiner Expressway in a viral video that emerged on Feb. 11, 2019. Toronto police said the incident took place on Feb. 9. Zoia turned herself in to investigators a few days later on Feb. 13.
Zoia is disputing that she posted the video to social media.
Outside court on Tuesday, Gregory Leslie, Zoia’s lawyer, said a pre-sentence report about whether or not Zoia herself posted the video to social media only became available as of Monday.
“Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to review it with her last night. And so today, when it was mentioned, she indicated that she did not post this video, her video tossing the chair, to Snapchat,” Leslie said.
“And that is the issue,” Leslie continued. “This now becomes what we refer to as a ‘Gardiner Hearing,’ and the onus is on the Crown to prove it. That is why the matter went over.”
Leslie said at the next court hearing, the Crown will need to call upon a witness to prove the claim.
“They will call the witness, they will examine. I will cross-examine the witness and then it’s up to Her Honour to decide whether or not the Crown has been able to prove Ms. Zoia posted that,” Leslie said.
“The reason that the Crown feels this is important is because it would be an aggravating feature, an aggravating circumstance that would assist the crown in sentencing.”
An agreed statement of facts presented in court in November outlined that Zoia had thrown the chair from a 45th-floor balcony, narrowly missing a busy highway.
The statement noted that no one was injured but said surveillance footage from the condo building showed there were several people walking through the area at the time of the incident, including a woman with a child in a stroller.
Prosecutors said they are seeking a six-month jail sentence, while her lawyer, Leslie, is seeking a suspended sentence in which Zoia would be under probation and face other conditions set by the judge.
“She should not serve any time in jail regardless…” Leslie said. “I think she should get a suspended sentence. That has been my position, and that remains my position.”
— With files from Jessica Patton and the Canadian Press