The case of Marco Muzzo (“Muzzo”) returned to the headlines last week. We have previously blogged about Muzzo’s impaired driving conviction. After returning to Toronto on a private jet from his bachelor party in Miami, Muzzo was involved in a deadly motor vehicle accident while driving home to Woodbridge. Muzzo, with blood-alcohol levels three times the legal limit to drive, drove through a stop sign and crashed into the driver’s side of a minivan killing three children and their grandfather, and injuring the children’s grandmother and great-grandmother.
Muzzo pleaded guilty in 2016 to four counts of impaired driving causing death, and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Last week he attended a parole board hearing before the Parole Board of Canada.
As we have previously blogged, Muzzo was denied parole in November 2018 as he had a “lack of understanding on the issue of impairment” and a December 2019 psychiatric assessment found that he did “not meet the diagnostic criteria for an alcohol or substance use disorder of any kind”.
THE PAROLE BOARD HEARING
Following a two day virtual parole board hearing, the Parole Board of Canada granted Muzzo day parole. Given the COVID pandemic, victims of the crime were allowed to call into the parole hearings and present victim impact statements for Parole Board of Canada members to consider in their decision-making.
Muzzo originally only applied for day parole, however, due to the circumstances surrounding the pandemic he was encouraged by Correctional Service Canada to apply for full parole. It was Muzzo’s plan to live with his fiancée and work out of his family business headquarters. The parole board decided that he was not ready for this form of release and therefore denied his request for full parole.
Alternatively, the parole board decided to grant Muzzo a gradual release, which they concluded “will allow you to test your newfound knowledge with a higher level of supervision, support and monitoring than full parole would provide at this juncture. You will likely face serious reintegration stressors upon release. You will have to demonstrate your ability to deal with your stress adequately prior to consideration for full parole.”
The parole board reported that Muzzo’s behaviour while incarcerated has been “appropriate”. Muzzo has completed two six-month periods of escorted absences from prison for community service. He has undergone five urinalyses and none of them have returned positive for any banned substances.
Muzzo has undergone substance abuse counseling and the board found that he had improved his understanding of alcohol abuse.
You indicated that it had helped to strengthen your resolve to abstain from alcohol and to be the best person you could be, not being consumed by what others thought of you and how you had to prove yourself to them.
The parole board accepted that Muzzo was a low risk to reoffend given the support from his parole officer, his strong community network, supportive family, friends, co-workers and a fiancée, and a commitment from his addictions counsellor to continue with treatment upon his release.
The decision stated:
The Board notes that you have a strong community network, with many family members, friends and co-workers actively expressing their support for you. Your fiancée is known to be a strong support and has continued to visit you often and participated in daily phone calls. You have mostly lived a pro-social and productive life.
In a statement issued by the law firm that represented Muzzo, he apologized to the family of the victims and stated:
I ruined their lives and I take full responsibility for what I have done. I always will. I was careless and irresponsible when I made the choice to drink and drive. There is no way that I can undo the damage that I have caused. I will live with this for the rest of my life.
While on day parole, Muzzo will be housed in an undisclosed halfway house and will work as a general labourer with his family’s company.
According to the conditions of Muzzo’s day parole, he is forbidden from driving for 12 years following his release; he must stay away from members of the victims’ families and sites of memorials for 6 months; he is barred from entering the city of Brampton, King City community or the town of Aurora without permission from his parole officer; he must meet with a mental health professional; he must stay away from establishments that derive primary revenue from alcohol and not buy, possess or drink alcohol.
If you have been charged with impaired driving or a driving offence of any kind or have any questions regarding your legal rights, please contact the knowledgeable criminal lawyers at Affleck & Barrison LLP online or at 905-404-1947. We offer a 24-hour phone service to protect your rights and to ensure that you have access to justice at all times. Trust our experienced criminal lawyers to handle your defence with diligence, strategy and expertise.