A preliminary hearing will be scheduled soon in the manslaughter case involving the death of 15-month-old Nathaniel McLellan in 2015, a London court heard on Wednesday.
Meggin Van Hoof, who was caring for Nathaniel the day he passed out, faces a charge of manslaughter. The case was widely reported in a Toronto Star series Death in a Small Town, which has now been made into a Natpodcast that will premiere on Monday.
During a brief hearing in London on Thursday, Crown Attorney Jason Miller and Defense Attorney Jenny Prosser told the court that a pre-trial is scheduled for June 1. One was pre-scheduled and cancelled. Both attorneys said the case is moving forward.
“The crown will do whatever is necessary to ensure there are no further delays on this matter,” Miller said.
Prosser, Van Hoof’s attorney, and a previous attorney on the case, had significant delays in obtaining disclosure from the crown office. The charge was made by the Ontario Provincial Police nearly a year ago.
Court heard that a judicial pre-trial will be held on June 1. Judicial pretrials are an opportunity for the crown and defense to have candid discussions about issues related to the case. Judicial pre-trials are carried out between the crown and the defense, before a judge of the Superior Court of Justice. Publication of pre-trial information is not permitted.
Prosser, a lawyer for Van Hoof, said she was hopeful that if the pre-trial meeting with the crown went well, they could set a date for a preliminary hearing the next day, June. 2. A preliminary hearing is an opportunity for the crown to present its case. A judge will then decide whether there is sufficient evidence to bring the case to trial.
On October 27, 2015, as the Star series detailed, Van Hoof called Rose-Anne McLellan, Nathaniel’s mother, to tell her that the child was in danger. Rose-Anne picked up her son and rushed him to hospital in London, where doctors determined he had a fracture to the back of his skull. Nathaniel was declared brain dead and removed from life support on October 31, 2015. As part of its comprehensive coverage of the case, the Star published a video detailing the timeline of events. As the Star series detailed, Strathroy-Caradoc Police and the OPP initially focused on Nathaniel’s parents as suspects.
A preview to Death in a small town podcast is available here. The seven-part series will be available, one episode a week starting Monday, on Apple Podcasts., Spotify, amazons, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. All episodes will be available to Star subscribers on Monday at thestar.com.
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