Justice of the Peace Bruce Phillips has grown impatient with Michael Bond, a former Pelham resident who was behind the wheel when he allegedly struck and killed a 66-year-old Ridgeville woman walking along Effingham Street on November 30, 2019.
Bond, 55, is charged under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act with careless driving causing death, driving while under suspension, driving with no valid vehicle license, and operating an unsafe vehicle.
Toronto-based lawyer Lawrence Ben-Eliezer is Bond’s legal aid-appointed counsel—at least at the moment. Ben-Eliezer appeared via teleconference before Judge Phillips last Wednesday in a Welland courtroom, and indicated that he planned to bring a motion to be removed from the case. He had experienced difficulty keeping in contact with Bond, and did not know his whereabouts. Bond is currently homeless, and is reportedly living in shelters somewhere in Niagara.
Ben-Eliezer explained that he had been in contact with Bond for the first time in quite a while only recently, and had provided the coordinates for Bond to appear remotely in court (although he may have provided an incorrect date.) Ben-Eliezer has reviewed disclosure documents, but has not been able to personally serve Bond with the pertinent paperwork.
Judge Phillips voiced annoyance that the case has dragged on due to Bond’s lack of communication, and noted that it was in the public interest for the case to be prosecuted expeditiously. Phillips set a court date of October 7 at 1:30 PM in Welland, with the expectation that Ben-Eliezer would convey this information to Bond, who must either secure counsel or prepare for self-representation.