July 26, 2012
14 months for attempted arson at G20
By Sam Pazzano QMI Agency
TORONTO — An urban planner for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) was sentenced to 14 months for attempted arson and damaging two police cruisers during the G20 summit riots.
Ashan Ravindhraraj was fired by the TTC in July 2010, a month after he was photographed setting ablaze and stomping on the abandoned police cars.
He had won an employee award in 2009 for his troubleshooting on the TTC’s online trip planner project.
Justice Anne Molloy said the 27-year-old Ryerson University graduate blamed his appalling conduct on a recent break-up and his decision to quit smoking. He denied setting the car ablaze and said he was posing for photos for his Facebook page.
“For some reason, he thought she’d be impressed with these photographs of him trashing a police car,” Molloy said in passing sentence Wednesday.
She dismissed his quitting-smoking excuse after the accused was spotted in many photographs and video images with a lit cigarette in his hand.
“I don’t accept ‘everyone was doing it’ as an excuse for this conduct, nor do I believe that being upset about a relationship’s break-up is any kind of explanation for trashing and attempting to set fire to a police car as part of an out-of-control mob,” the judge said.
Molloy said the mischief and attempted arson are out-of-character acts for Ravindhraraj, who has a stable, supportive family, which emigrated to Canada in August 1993 from Dubai.
But the crimes will probably jeopardize his career as an urban planner, Molloy said.
He showed little real remorse and only pleaded guilty to two counts of mischief due “to the overwhelming photographic and video evidence,” which made his conviction a certainty.
“He consistently tried to minimize his conduct as ‘goofy, stupid and senseless.’ He is sorry he did it, not because of the appalling conduct itself, but because of the effect it had on him and his family,” Molloy said.
The attempted arsonist “feels sorry for himself and displays little regard for how his actions affected society: The store owners, police and other victims. He justified his actions with an array of excuses, most often with ‘everyone was doing it,’” Molloy said.
Crown attorney Catherine Rhinelander argued the accused was clearly destroying the windshield, not testing its “sponginess,” as the accused testified. Molloy agreed.
She deducted two months off his sentence for his restrictive house arrest bail.