A driver who killed a father in a high-speed street race in Montreal blames the “empty” streets during the pandemic and the “bad” influence of his accomplice. The Crown is asking for a “severe” 5-year sentence against this “thrill” lover.

“I’ve lost more than my son’s father, I’ve lost my best friend and the love of my life,” said Victoria Billingy, Kevin Jones-Bynoe’s spouse, Thursday during sentencing submissions. ‘Ilias El-Azali. The 30-year-old Montrealer pleaded guilty last December to dangerous driving causing death and a fatal hit-and-run.

Kevin Jones-Bynoe was driving home in a taxi in northern Montreal on the night of Nov. 8, 2020. The 32-year-old had recently celebrated his son’s first birthday. When crossing the intersection of De Salaberry Street, the taxi was hit head-on by Ilias El Azali’s vehicle, which ran the red light at full speed.

The images of the collision filed in evidence are extremely violent. Kevin Jones-Bynoe didn’t have a chance. The killer was driving over 100 km/h in a 50 km/h zone, according to an expert. Its speed even reaching 180 km/h, according to a witness. He was followed by another vehicle, an acquaintance named “Alexander”.

“[Knowledge] began to accelerate. He was a bad influence. It pushed me to speed up. It didn’t last long, but it caused the accident. It was a lack of judgment. It was COVID. The roads were empty,” defended Ilias El Azali, emphasizing in broad strokes his deep remorse.

After the collision, Ilias El Azali got out of his vehicle, then boarded his accomplice’s sedan. A few seconds later, he turned back to retrieve an object from his car. In the morning, he told the police that his vehicle had been stolen.

Ilias El Azali blames the mysterious Alexandre. “He influenced me greatly to flee. I was in shock. He had stuffed my head,” he explains. If the accused did not go to see the victims, it was because he believed that it was not “that bad”. “I didn’t have all my wits,” he continues.

Crown Prosecutor Me Anik Archambault points to numerous aggravating factors to justify the imposition of a “severe” 5-year sentence, including the context of street racing and the fact that the accused has already lost his driver’s license for driving 90 km/h over the speed limit. “Clearly he ignored that warning,” she pleaded.

The defense is asking for a two-year sentence because of the “numerous” mitigating factors. Me Stéphanie Basso insisted a lot on her client’s remorse and her empathy for the victim’s family. His risk of reoffending is “low” and he remains an asset to society, the defense argues.

The prosecution is asking for a driving ban for seven years, against four years for the defense.

The judge will hand down his sentence next month.