BILL PUDIM PHOTO

October 25 new trial date in Cochrane

Former Town of Pelham CAO Darren Ottaway had a court date in Cochrane, Ontario on October 4, to stand trial before Justice Carr on an assault charge involving his stepson, Jay Jackson-Ottaway.

However, the court docket was backed up with other cases, and Paul Bragagnolo, Ottaway’s defense counsel, was told via Zoom that his client’s case will not be heard until October 25. Ottaway did not appear in court.

Originally, four charges were laid against Ottaway, related to incidents alleged to have occurred prior to 2019, when Ottaway was still working in Pelham.

In July, Bragagnolo told Justice Labelle in Cochrane court that his client had suffered a medical emergency, and was in the intensive care unit at an unspecified southern Ontario hospital. Bragagnolo said that Ottaway had suffered seizures, and may have a brain tumour.

Ottaway’s medical prognosis is still unknown, but Bragagnolo told the court on August 16 that his client had been released from hospital “with life-threatening medical concerns.”

A judicial pretrial, or JPT, occurred on August 12. Ottaway had been facing two assault charges, a sexual interference charge, and a sexual assault charge. However, Crown Prosecutor Justin Reneaud withdrew one of the charges against Ottaway in August, telling the court that the single count of common assault against Ottaway’s wife, Paula, “has no reasonable prospect of conviction.”

Bragagnolo previously told the court that his wish was to return to Niagara for the sexual assault and sexual interference charges against Ottaway to be addressed, subject to his client’s instructions. Bragagnolo informed the court last month of his intent to have the charges brought back to the jurisdiction where they allegedly occurred, namely Pelham.

Since his dismissal from Pelham, Ottaway has been employed as the Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Cochrane, a community of 5000 located south of Moosonee in northeastern Ontario. He was granted bail at his initial court appearance on January 24, and has been on a leave of absence, without pay, from his Cochrane CAO role during the case, with the Town appointing an interim CAO in his place.