CALGARY – The Alberta Court of Appeal has upheld the sentence of a Calgary man for killing a gas-station attendant who was trying to stop him from stealing fuel.
Joshua Cody Mitchell is serving 11 years in prison after being convicted last year of manslaughter and of hit and run in the 2015 death of Maryam Rashidi.
Rashidi, who was 35, died when Mitchell ran over her as he drove off without paying for $113 worth of gasoline.
Mitchell’s lawyer said his client’s prison term should be reduced to seven years. He argued, among other things, that the trial judge was too harsh in choosing from a range of possible sentences for manslaughter.
The Appeal Court ruled the judge balanced all the factors and legal principles in the case.
“The sentence was stern but had to be,” the panel of appeal judges wrote in a decision released Friday.
They did reduce a lifetime driving ban Mitchell faced to 10 years.
“For a person still in his 20s this is not, in our view, realistic and it serves no compelling … purpose,” the judges wrote.
“It does not depreciate the magnitude of his offence to recognize that the appellant will be a different person in the years to come and should be encouraged to live a constructive life then.”
Rashidi and her husband had come to Canada from Iran in 2014 because they wanted a better life for their son. She had been working at the Centex gas station for just two weeks after being laid off from her engineering job during Calgary’s economic downturn.
The trial heard that Rashidi chased Mitchell’s truck across a parking lot and onto the busy Trans-Canada Highway where the vehicle got stuck in traffic. She banged on the passenger window, stood in front of the truck with her hands up and then scrambled onto the hood.
She was run over when he swerved the truck and she fell off.
Rashidi’s husband died in a traffic accident before Mitchell was sentenced.