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Charges in traffic fatality from November 2019

Michael Bond finally appeared in virtual court via telephone before Justice of the Peace Bruce Phillips in St. Catharines last week.

Bond, 55, 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, 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 has been representing Bond, but on this occasion repeated his intention to seek a court order removing him as counsel of record. The Crown did not oppose the request, nor did Bond, who plans to represent himself in court.

Both Assistant Crown Attorney Andrew Brown and Judge Phillips voiced concern regarding the delays in bringing the case to trial, given that the four charges, one involving a fatality, date to nearly two years ago.

“The Crown has been alerted to the delay issues, and the interest that everyone has, including, obviously, the family of the victim, the community and Mr. Bond himself, to have this matter brought to a conclusion. So I’m in Your Worship’s hands. I’m very concerned about the delay. And I’m hoping that we can take whatever steps are necessary in order to set a date for resolution,” said Brown.

Bond told the court he continues to live on the streets and in shelters.

“Right now I’m in Toronto. I’m homeless. I don’t have any money at all. I’m doing the best I can to deal with the issues brought up by this pandemic,” said Bond.

Justice Phillips instructed Bond to collect the disclosure documents from Ben-Eliezer as soon as possible, so as to prepare himself for trial.

Brown told the court that he plans to call five civilian witnesses, and seven or eight police witnesses, along with an expert, and anticipated “at least three full days, plus more because Mr. Bond will be representing himself.”

Justice Phillips set a new court date of December 15 at 1:30 PM.

Given the difficulty in the past communicating with the defendant, Phillips requested and received new cellphone and email address information from Bond.