Preliminary hearing starts for London Mayor Joe Fontana
Published Monday, October 28, 2013 10:19AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 28, 2013 5:59PM EDT
A preliminary hearing for London Mayor Joe Fontana got underway at the London courthouse on Monday.
Arriving to court with his wife Vicki, Fontana was in an upbeat mood, saying “Well, I’m still battling a cold, but I feel really confident, great.”
Even before the hearing got underway, Fontana’s defence attorney asked that the proceeding go to trial so the mayor could have his day in court.
Outside the courthouse Gord Cudmore said “I remain as I’ve always remained confident…[in] an acquittal…There’s a lot of speculation and pundits and everything talking about it. Apparently, I understand there’s an election next year sometime, which I don’t know anything about.”
He adds that he’d like to get it done as quickly as possible and “I am very hopeful that the trial will be held in the early part of 2014.”
During a pre-trial hearing, a judge is looking at the evidence to determine if it is sufficient for Fontana to stand trial on the three criminal charges he is facing.
A ban on publication of evidence was ordered in court Monday morning, so no details of what was said by the two witnesses who took the stand can be reported.
The hearing is related to charges of fraud under $5,000, breach of trust by a public official and uttering forged documents laid by the RCMP in November 2012.
The charges relate to events in 2005, when Fontana was a federal cabinet minister and his son had a wedding reception at the Marconi Club.
Following an investigation, the RCMP accused the mayor of using a $1,700 federal check to pay the deposit on a room. Neither that claim, nor any of the charges have been proven in court.
The hearing resumes Tuesday when two out-of-town witnesses are expected to testify.