Fontana's fraud case moves forward in London court
London Mayor Joe Fontana's legal representatives appeared in front of a judge Tuesday morning, though the mayor himself was not in attendance.
Fontana was charged by the RCMP in November with one count of fraud under $5,000, breach of trust by a public official and uttering forged documents.
The charges stem from allegations of misuse of funds in 2005 during his time as a Liberal MP and relate to a $1,700 federal cheque and the deposit for his son’s wedding reception.
In court on Tuesday, the mayor’s legal team asked for the case to be adjourned to allow the Crown to disclose information to the defence.
His lawyer, Gord Cudmore, is set to receive the evidence against the mayor later this week, and can then proceed with a review and discussions with the Crown on agreed upon facts.
“I want to be able to see what is the basis that they are saying those three charges are reasonable to make,” Cudmore says.
The next court date is scheduled for February 26th when a pre-trial hearing will likely be scheduled.
Cudmore adds “We may set a date for a preliminary hearing, if we haven’t resolved everything it will be adjourned again for further talks.”
Fontana has so far refused to step down as London’s mayor during the proceedings and denies any wrongdoing.
He did not want to comment when reached at city hall, but opened a committee meeting saying “Keep in mind that we have a responsibility to our constituents that we work together.”
Fontana is expected to plead not guilty to the charges and Cudmore says there has been no discussion of a plea bargain.
The hearing was frustrating for the media and the public interested in the case, as it was held in the smallest courtroom in the city.
The snafu was chalked up to poor planning, but many members of the media were upset at being left out of the proceedings.
With files from The Canadian Press