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Father's Heart-Wrenching Question: How Can a Technicality Be More Valuable Than My Son's Life?
MAR 1, 2023  (1:10 PM)

Father's Heart-Wrenching Question: How Can a Technicality Be More Valuable Than My Son's Life?

On a warm summer evening last May, tragedy struck the Yekmalians family in Caledon, Ontario, when their beloved 18-year-old son, Milo Yekmalian, was killed in a head-on car crash.

The heartbroken parents, Alen and Dianne Yekmalian watched helplessly as emergency personnel tried in vain to save the life of their beloved son.

The police had charged Tomislav Roki, 67, of Toronto, with careless driving causing death under the Highway Traffic Act. Alen and Dianne attended each court date hoping for justice for their son's death, only to be dismayed when the judge declared the charge null and void due to a paperwork error.

Alen Yekmalian, Milo's father, couldn't believe that a technicality could outweigh his son's life.

"To have all the charges thrown out on a technicality? It's insulting," said Yekmalian, his voice filled with muted anger and frustration. "It's deplorable."

The 51-year-old admits he wasn't as calm when it unfolded in the Caledon courtroom.

"I freaked out. I stood up in court and I probably shouldn't have, it wasn't the right thing to do, but I basically yelled out, 'Come on, this is over a signature? Really? You're telling me my son's life is worth less than a signature?'"

He asked how something like this could happen in a country where justice is supposed to be served. Pavan Bassi, Roki's paralegal, explained that the error was a result of the pandemic; police officers weren't able to present themselves in person before the judge for swearing in, so instead, they dropped off the paperwork in a basket for signing.

It wasn't until Roki's third court appearance that the presiding JP noticed that the officer's name and badge number were on the information, but his signature was not. Since more than six months had passed since the collision, the charge could not be re-laid.

The Yekmalians were left to pick up the pieces of their broken hearts. They want to see changes in the system and for someone to be held accountable. Alen Yekmalain wants justice for his son and refuses to let the death of Milo fade away.

The Ministry of Transportation spokesman, Bob Nichols, advised ordering a transcript from the court proceedings as it might provide more information about what happened. At least then, said Alen Yekmalian, the family would have a better understanding of how the mistake was made.

The Yekmalians struggle to grapple with their son's death while feeling let down by the legal system.

"My wife is just broken by it. We're all broken by it. How do I explain this to his 16-year-old brother that the man accused of killing Milo is living his life as if nothing happened?" he demands. "He feels no repercussions from this at all."

Even if he sues and wins, the insurance company ultimately pays, Yekmalian said. He wants awareness to be raised so that people know the consequences of careless driving and hopefully prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

"I could throw a beer can on the street and get a $93 fine. This guy didn't get any of that," he complains bitterly. "Nothing."

He is determined to demand justice for his beloved son, no matter what it takes.

Source: Toronto Sun