Ali Boulala Jailed
Posted on Friday, April 25, 2008 by ROb
By Shelley Hadfield
April 25, 2008 12:00am
A WORLD-famous skateboarder will spend at least two years in jail for killing champion Australian skater Shane Cross in a motorcycle crash.
Ali Boulala killed Cross when he smashed into the wall of the Tramway Hotel on March 7 last year. A rising superstar, Cross, 20, was a pillion passenger on the bike.
Boulala had a blood alcohol concentration of .162 and Cross, who died in hospital, had a blood alcohol level of .18. Neither of the men were wearing helmets.
Boulala and Cross had earlier been at city nightspot the Cherry Bar. They then went to a friends house and drank beer. County Court Judge Sue Pullen said Boulala slammed into the hotel wall at an estimated 30km/h about 1.05am after doing two to three laps around the block.
Swedish-born Boulala has pioneered skating manoeuvres, featured in skateboarding videos, featured on the front cover of Transworld Skateboarding magazine and designed his own shoes. About 100,000 skateboards have been sold carrying his name since he turned professional in 1997.
The pro-skater suffered a severe brain injury in the accident and has not been able to return to skateboarding or motorbike riding.
Judge Pullen said the crash was a tragedy.
Before the crash, Cross was overheard twice telling Boulala he wanted to go for a ride on the motorbike. Boulala wouldn't let Cross go because he didn't have a helmet, Judge Pullen said.
"You were therefore aware of the potential ramifications," Judge Pullen said.
"You threw caution to the wind at a later stage on this evening."
Judge Pullen said Cross had his whole life to look forward to and his family had suffered enormously as a result of Boulala's conduct.
Cross was regarded as one of Australia's most talented skateboarders. It is understood he had signed to star in a video game.
Judge Pullen said Boulala's injuries would provide ongoing punishment for him.
Boulala spent more than three months in hospital and suffered post-traumatic amnesia for 65 days. By the time he was discharged from hospital he was able to walk 200m without a walking aid.
He was likely to be permanent affected by the injuries he sustained, Judge Pullen said. There was a question mark over whether he would ever be able to get on a skateboard again, she said.
Judge Pullen said Boulala had a reduced range of movement, strength and co-ordination and suffered spasticity in his lower right leg. He still has trouble putting on his shoes and getting out of the shower.
Boulala, 29, has been living in Richmond with his Australian girlfriend since he was released from hospital.
The Swede is renowned in skateboarding circles for a 25 stair ollie, in which he jumped from the top of a massive set of stairs.
Boulala arrived in Australia in November, 2006, to film a skateboarding video. He rode for Flip Skateboards. Cross was also on the Flip team.
Boulala and Cross, from the Gold Coast, were best mates and travelled the world skateboarding, Judge Pullen said.
"Prior to this offence you were a person of good character. You were also a role model, as was Shane Cross."
Boulala, who holds a full Swedish driving permit, pleaded guilty to one count of culpable driving. He was jailed for four years with a non-parole period of two years and disqualified from driving in Victoria for three years.