Calgary

4.5-year sentence for woman who shoved senior onto CTrain tracks, breaking her back

Random acts of violence against public transit users will not be tolerated, said a Calgary judge in sentencing a woman to four-and-a-half years in prison for pushing a senior citizen onto CTrain tracks, causing her to break her back.

Stephanie Favel was angry, drunk and high on meth when she pushed a stranger onto LRT tracks

Rozalia Meichl, 64, will be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life after she was pushed from the platform of a Calgary train station in November. (Submitted)

Random acts of violence against public transit users will not be tolerated, said a Calgary judge in sentencing a woman to four-and-a-half years in prison for pushing a senior citizen onto CTrain tracks, causing her to break her back.

After hearing arguments last week, provincial court Judge Harry Van Harten reluctantly sentenced Favel to the lengthy term, giving her a six month discount from what prosecutor Doug Taylor had proposed because of the offender's sincere apology to the victim, Rozalia Meichl, 64.

"It is an unhappy day for this court when it must sentence a young Indigenous offender to a lengthy prison period," said Van Harten. 

The judge noted Favel is a "classic victim of trans-generational trauma, having been the victim of sexual abuse and growing up in foster care."

But Van Harten said "in a city the size of Calgary, public transit is vital" and the need for deterrence overshadows the offender's "sad personal circumstances."

Stephanie Favel pleaded guilty in March to aggravated assault for shoving a 64-year-old Calgary resident onto the LRT tracks at the Victoria Park/Stampede station. She was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison. (Stephanie Favel/Facebook)

Originally charged with attempted murder, Stephanie Favel pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and admitted to shoving Meichl, a total stranger, onto the tracks and into the path of an oncoming train at the Victoria Park/Stampede Park LRT station in November 2018.

Video surveillance from the CTrain platform shows an angry Favel, who is high on crystal meth and drunk, shove Meichl onto the tracks as a train approaches.

Meichl landed on her back and neck, suffering a spinal fracture. She is now confined to a wheelchair which the judge described as a "true tragedy to the victim."

The video is difficult for Meichl's family to watch.

"Every time I hear a description of the incident that video plays back in my head," said Charmaine Newman, Meichl's daughter. "I saw the worst of the worst on it."

Warning: The below video shows the assault and may be upsetting to some viewers.

Surveillance video shows 64-year-old pushed onto LRT tracks

3 years ago
Duration 1:30
A surveillance video from November 2018 shows Rozalia Meichl being shoved off the Victoria Park station platform onto the LRT tracks.

In her victim impact statement read aloud last week, Meichl wrote that on Nov. 8, 2018, "my life as I knew it ended abruptly and without warning."

Crown prosecutor Doug Taylor had proposed a five-year sentence with credit for time served. Defence lawyer Adriano Iovinelli asked for three to three-and-a-half years. 

Iovinelli said his client was prepared to serve whatever sentence the judge handed down.

"She was expecting a five-year sentence today," said Iovinelli. "She's at peace, she just is asking for forgiveness for her actions."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary crime reporter

Meghan Grant is a justice affairs reporter. She has been covering courts, crime and stories of police accountability in southern Alberta for more than a decade. Send Meghan a story tip at meghan.grant@cbc.ca or follow her on Twitter.

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