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Arif Afghani sentenced to 5½ years in prison for deadly car crash

03/17/2015 05:06 EDT | Updated 05/17/2015 05:12 EDT
A Quebec judge has sentenced ArifAfghani, 24, to five and a half years in prison for driving the car that killed a father and his 10-year-old daughter.

The fatal collision happened in March 2011.

Afghani pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death last fall — just weeks before his trial was about to start.

Justice Pierre Labelle told the packed courtroom that the accident that killed Daniel Clouston and his daughter Catherine could have been prevented.

The passenger in Afghani's car was also seriously injured and left intellectually-challenged.

In his ruling, the judge focused on Afghani's history of reckless driving — 18 infractions in just four years on the road.

Afghani's licence had been suspended.

Nonetheless, Afghani was driving that day — going double the speed limit and he ran a red light before hitting an SUV.

Courtroom packed

The courtroom was crowded with family and friends of those involved in the crash that day.

The victims’ family sat on one side of the courtroom. Arif Afghani's sisters were also in the room, sobbing as their brother sat and listened passively to the judge's ruling.

Labelle said the young man treated the roads as his own private race track before sentencing him to 5 and a half years in prison.

After his sentence is served, Afghani won’t be allowed to hold a driver’s licence for another six years.

Lynne Bonneville lost her husband and daughter in the accident. She said the court process has been a nightmare, but at least it's now over.

“My husband, my daughter will never come back, but at least the judge said it's not acceptable — those kinds of behaviour are not acceptable,” she said.

Afghani's lawyer says he needs to review the judgment in full before deciding whether to appeal.

"[The judge] may have put a lot of weight on the past driving record — more than I would have thought that he was going to — but at the same time, it's a serious case. There are people who have passed away and  a lot of people have been injured so I can understand the decision, but I have to take a look at it," said defence lawyer Dylan Jones. 

There's also a chance Afghani, who is not a Canadian citizen, may be deported.

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