A Surrey man found guilty of hit-and-run after badly injuring an 87-year-old woman when he backed his vehicle out of his garage has been sentenced to eight months of house arrest.
The Criminal Code section under which Joe Jut Wong, 51, was found guilty, 252(1.2), says anyone who is convicted of failing to stop at the scene of an accident while knowing that bodily harm has occurred is liable to imprisonment for up to 10 years.
The case was heard in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, with Justice Patrice Abrioux presiding.
The court heard that on Jan. 19, 2014 Wong was reversing his vehicle, at low speed, from the garage of his Surrey house when it hit Yip Chan, 87, who had been out on her morning walk.
Chan suffered traumatic brain injury, a skull fracture, nerve damage causing deafness in her left ear, a broken jaw, multiple rib fractures and a collapsed lung.
“From the victim impact statements submitted by Ms. Chan and members of her family, it is clear that the accident has had a devastating impact on her life,” Abrioux noted. “She has gone from being an independent woman who was actively involved in her children and grandchildren’s lives, to now living in an institutional type setting since she requires care 24 hours a day.”
The judge also noted that, as for Wong, “He has displayed much remorse and his personality is now subdued and introspective, which was not the case before the accident.”
The Crown argued for a sentence of five or six months in prison, and a two-year driving prohibition, on grounds he failed to remain at the scene not once but twice, was not forthright with a police officer and misled police by deleting 20 minutes of surveillance video that would have established that it was his vehicle that hit Chan.
The defence argued Wong had acted out of panic and his actions were totally out of character.
The judge noted that since Wong has been convicted of this offence he has no insurance coverage for his “significant” personality civil liability to Chan.
Abrioux noted that when Wong first left the scene it was to go upstairs into his home from the garage, leaving Chan in the alley for several minutes without any medical attention requested or provided. “When he left the scene for the second time, emergency personnel were attending to Ms. Chan.”
The judge sentenced Wong to an eight month conditional sentence to be followed by 18 months probation. He must also do 50 hours of community service, pay a $200 victim surcharge and is prohibited from driving except for employment.