This morning at the Surrey courthouse Yosef Gopaul pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Surrey’s “Hockey Mom” Julie Paskall. Julie was attacked on the evening of Dec 29, 2013 in the parking lot of the Newton Arena in Surrey, BC. The attack and subsequent death of Julie on New Year’s Eve sent shock waves throughout the city and around the world.
Today Judge Dohm sentenced Mr. Gopaul to 10 years for the crime against Julie Paskall and 2 years for an attack and robbery two weeks prior to Paskall’s on Dec 16 2013, an event that injured a young woman both physically and psychologically. That victim was present in court but chose not to speak.
With time already served, Mr. Gopaul will spend a total of 10 and one half years in custody.
Heartbreaking victim impact statements were read by Julie’s husband Al Paskall, daughters Rhiannon and Stacey, sister-in-law Joan Ross on behalf of her husband and Julie’s brother Martin, plus one of Julie’s cousins. Many in the gallery were seen weeping over how this sad and senseless act devastated a family and rocked a community to its core.
Gopaul read a statement and expressed remorse over his actions that led to the death of Mrs. Paskall.
In the end, nothing brings this beautiful woman back.
No sentence, no apology, no tears of remorse. Nothing.
And that breaks my heart.
Here we go again. Our city is in the midst of a drug war. Police say the participants are involved in “low level” gang activity. They are young men, most of them just 20 years old, barely out of high school one assumes. The promise of easy money, fast cars and the dangerous, but oh so seductive and celebrated gangster lifestyle is too hard to resist. When guns are used on busy streets, in broad daylight ( again) there’s nothing low level about it. This is serious business. The soldiers in these spats aren’t concerned about civilians getting hurt. The old ‘honour’ code of conduct is dead. It doesn’t matter that the hits are “targeted”. How accurate can a shot be when it’s fired into a moving vehicle from a moving vehicle? Sheer luck has prevented an innocent bystander from getting hurt. But luck has a way of running out. And if someone, heaven forbid a child gets caught in the crossfire, there will be hell to pay.
As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I take a look at my life and realize there’s nothin’ left
Cause I’ve been blasting and laughing so long,
That even my mama thinks that my mind is gone
But I ain’t never crossed a man that didn’t deserve it
Me be treated like a punk you know that’s unheard of
You better watch how you’re talking and where you’re walking
Or you and your homies might be lined in chalk
I really hate to trip but I gotta loc
As they croak, I see myself in the pistol smoke, fool
I’m the kinda G the little homies wanna be like
On my knees in the night saying prayers in the streetlight
And so it goes…