Michelle Hanson case adjourned to return with plea next week

·2 min read

While a resolution to the Michelle Hanson trial was expected on Tuesday (April 6), defense attorney Marco Forte has asked Justice Giselle Miller for more time to review a statement of facts before proceeding with a plea.

Michelle Hanson, an Amaranth mother facing charges in relation to the 2018 death of her three-year-old son Kaden Young, appeared briefly in Orangeville court via video conference on Tuesday (April 6), where her trial was adjourned until April 20 at 10 a.m.

“In reviewing the agreed statement of facts again with Ms. Hanson, there were a couple of issues that arose, and I think it’s prudent for me to really have time to delve into those issues with Ms. Hanson,” said Forte.

Apologizing to the court room, Forte said another week or so would allow for himself and Hanson to discuss the issues and return to move forward with a plea.

“My plan is to have a lengthier meeting with Ms. Hanson, work through those issues, then inform Ms. Garbaty where we are at and if any changes are require, we can proceed accordingly and come before your honour to complete the plea as anticipated,” said Forte.

Following a discussion between Justice Miller, assistant crown attorney Danielle Garbaty, and Forte a return date to court was settled.

Hanson’s trial was originally scheduled to begin in a Guelph courtroom on March 8, but was put on hold as jury trials in Ontario are currently not being held due to COVID-19 restrictions. Her trial was relocated to Guelph, in September of 2020, from Orangeville following a request from Forte that the trial be held in a jurisdiction outside of Dufferin County.

On the early morning hours of Feb. 21, 2018, Hanson’s vehicle was pulled into the Grand River following heavying flooding, which saw the river water rise up onto the road. Hanson, police said, drove around a ‘road closed’ sign at the 10th Line of Amaranth and the car was pulled into the river.

Both Hanson and Kaden, who was in the vehicle with his mother, managed to escape but Kaden was pulled out of his mother’s arms. Kaden’s body was later recovered in Belwood Lake on April 21, two months to the day from the incident.

Hanson is being tried on charges of impaired driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death.

Hanson will make another appearance in court on April 20, at 10.am.

Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press