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'Fear overwhelmed his ability to do the right thing:' Gridin

A teenage driver who fled the scene after fatally striking a pedestrian was immobilized by fear, says Toronto criminal lawyer Lawrence Gridin.

"Fear overwhelmed his ability to do the right thing," he said. "He had a sense of paralysis."

Gridin, of Brauti Thorning Zibarras LLP, represented Tanvir Padda, who was 18 at the time the crash. Padda pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of the crash. Charges of impaired driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death were withdrawn.

Kitchener-Waterloo Record article, indicates that Padda, of Brampton, was sentenced to four months in jail and prohibited from driving for two years; the judge also imposed two years of probation in connection with the death of Jordan Gillis, 29. The Crown had been seeking a penalty of nine months in jail.

In imposing the sentence, the judge said it was one of the most difficult cases he’d ever presided over.

In a letter of apology that Gridin read in court, Padda says how sorry he was about what happened about 4 a.m. on Oct. 20, 2013.

Driving a Jeep Wrangler, Padda, who was a first-year university student at the time, struck Gillis after he stepped in front of him. Padda had been the designated driver that evening and was almost home when the crash occurred.

"I was not drunk or driving recklessly; I just didn't see Jordan until it was too late," Padda says. "Even so, I will never forgive myself for taking someone's life."

In the apology letter, Padda says he was in complete shock and didn't know what to do so he fled. 

"I know how wrong it was of me to have driven away that night," he says. "I hate myself for it; I was just so terrified that I ran."

The newspaper says that Gillis was wearing dark clothing and listening to music on headphones; he had also been smoking marijuana and drinking enough alcohol with friends to register him over the legal driving limit; he died instantly.

Padda says he is "truly sorry" for what he has done.  

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