Taxi driver sentenced to 4 years for longboarder's death

Toronto taxi driver Adib Ibrahim was sentenced to four years in prison Friday in connection with the 2012 death of longboard skateboarder Ralph Bissonnette.

Adib Ibrahim was convicted of manslaughter in October in death of Ralph Bissonnette

A jury found Adib Ibrahim guilty of manslaughter and not guilty of second-degree murder in October. (CBC)

Toronto taxi driver Adib Ibrahim was sentenced to four years in prison Friday in connection with the 2012 death of longboard skateboarder Ralph Bissonnette.

A jury found Ibrahim guilty of manslaughter and not guilty of second-degree murder last October. 

In addition to his prison sentence, Ibrahim is also prohibited from operating a vehicle for six years.

In handing down the sentence, Justice Robert Clark said Ibrahim used his vehicle as a weapon, intentionally striking Bissonnette.

"It appears that Mr. Ibrahim is a good man in many respects," Clark said. "But the fact remains that he lost his temper over what, objectively viewed, was an annoyance, nothing more."

Bissonnette, 28, was run over while riding his longboard on King Street East on May 14, 2012. He was thrown to the curb and his board snapped in two. He was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Ralph Bissonnette was killed in May 2012 when he was run over by Ibrahim's taxi cab on King Street East. (Facebook)

Police initially treated the death as an accident, but later alleged Bissonnette was intentionally run over after a verbal exchange with the cab driver. 

During Friday's proceedings, Clark said he did not deem much of Ibrahim's testimony during the trial to be truthful. He also said that while Ibrahim did express remorse, he never acknowledged that he was at fault.

The day Bissonnette was killed was clear and dry, Clark said, and there was nothing obstructing Ibrahim's view. Bissonnette banged on the car, so Ibrahim was fully aware of his presence, Clark said.

 "In an instance of unbridled road rage he snuffed out Mr. Bissonnette's life," Clark said. "It takes little in the way of imagination to conclude that Mr. Bissonette's final moments must have been a combination of horrific pain and abject terror. The only merciful thing is that his death was swift." 

'I don't think it's fair' family friend says

After the sentence was handed down, Ibrahim's mother stood sobbing outside the courtroom. 

Family friend Malik Ahmed told CBC News the sentence was unfair. 

"I don't think it's fair. It was a tragic accident," he said.

"In the other cases the judge talked about, sentencing was suspended. He wasn't under the influence. He was earning his daily bread. It all happened in seconds. It was not premeditated."