Woman accused in Toronto balcony chair-tossing incident released on bail
Mary Nersessian and Ben Cousins, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, February 13, 2019 7:42AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 13, 2019 8:35PM EST
The woman accused of tossing chairs and other objects off the balcony of a downtown Toronto highrise has been arrested and released on bail.
Marcella Zoia, a 19-year-old Toronto resident, briefly appeared in court on Wednesday to face charges of common nuisance, mischief endangering life and damage to property over $5,000. She was released on $2,000 bail.
As part of the conditions of her release, Zoia has been ordered to live with her mother and have no contact with any of the four other parties named in the incident. She is also prohibited from possessing a weapon and is not allowed to return to the condo building.
Following the hearing, Zoia emerged from the courtroom alongside her lawyer and was greeted by a throng of cameras and reporters. Throughout a media scrum, Zoia smiled, but did not speak while her lawyer answered questions.
“(Zoia) is embarrassed by what happened,” her lawyer Gregory Leslie told reporters. “She wishes it never happened. Of course she would never wish that anybody would be hurt.”
When asked directly if Zoia wanted to apologize for the alleged incident, she turned away from reporters and left the courthouse.
Earlier this week, short video circulated showing a blonde woman tossing a chair off a downtown condo balcony, believed to be some 40 storeys up. The nine-second clip has been seen nearly 930,000 times since being posted to Facebook Saturday.
Toronto police issued a public plea on Monday to identify the woman in the video, who they say turned herself in around 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning.
Const. David Hopkinson said officers received several tips following release of the video, many of whom were outraged by the incident.
“I know for myself when I saw the initial video I just thought it was very callous,” he told CP24 on Wednesday. “(She had) no regard for anybody that might be passing underneath. I can think of some pretty horrific situations.”
Leslie acknowledged the Crown has a “strong case” considering the video evidence, but added he hopes to avoid a trial in the matter.
“We will just take this through the proper course, through the right channels…and we’ll go from there,” he said. “We’re going to have discussions with the Crown’s office. This might not go to trial. We’ll see how this works, but that’s a long way down the road.”
Police say the woman seen in the video threw another chair and several other items off the balcony. All of the objects were found in front of the building and it’s not believed anyone was injured.
Downtown condo unit believed to be a short-term rental
Neighbours who spoke to CTV Toronto have said the unit was used as a short-term rental.
"We see people coming in... and out every weekend and it's never the same people," said one man who didn't want to be identified.
Airbnb responded in a statement.
"We are outraged by the blatant disregard for community safety on display in the video. We are investigating whether any Airbnb guests were involved and we will be suspending any guest accounts that appear to be connected to this incident," said Ben Breit, who works for Airbnb in public affairs.
In a letter sent to condo owners and tenants of the building, the Maple Leaf Square Condos’ board of directors said management “co-operated fully with the police investigation.”
"Please remember that throwing anything from a balcony or a window could cause damage and could also lead to criminal charges,” the letter read.
With files from CP24