Nathaniel McLellan involuntary manslaughter case delayed after slow disclosure of London crown

The involuntary manslaughter case involving the 2015 death of the infant Nathaniel McLellan was again delayed, this time until January.

In a London court yesterday, the defendant’s lawyer Meggin Van Hoof said she was still awaiting full disclosure of the case documents from the crown prosecutor’s office.

Attorney Jenny Prosser said that while she had received 500 pages of disclosure from the crown, the crown has informed her that there is much more. Disclosure is evidence collected by the police that the crown intends to rely on a criminal case and defendants have a legal right to see it in order to prepare a defense.

Van Hoof, 42, who was Nathaniel’s babysitter, was charged on June 23, 2021, with manslaughter for Nathaniel’s death more than five years earlier. A Toronto Star series, Death in a Small Town, delved into the mysterious case of the 15-month-old boy. Van Hoof was arrested a week after the Star series was published and released on bail.

Prosser said he had been asking questions about the disclosure that he believed should have been included and heard from the crown office in late November that “there was a significant volume of disclosure that the crown had yet to resolve.” Prosser said the crown told him they would give him a computer “hard drive” with this information, but that he has not received it.

There were previous delays due to non-disclosure and a delay when Van Hoof switched from a previous attorney to Prosser.

The two crown attorneys assigned to the case (they were not named) were not in court Thursday. The court heard from another attorney for the crown that the police sent the new disclosure on December 8 to the assigned crowns. They should review it before passing it on to a defense attorney, the court was told.

As the Star series revealed last June, Nathaniel was being cared for by Van Hoof at his home nursery in October 2015 when he collapsed.

The matter was postponed until January 20.

Nathaniel was in Van Hoof’s care on October 27, 2015 in Strathroy when, as detailed in the Star series, he was in trouble. Van Hoof called Rose-Anne, Nathaniel’s mother, who picked up her son and took him to the hospital in London. Doctors determined that he had a fracture to the back of his skull, an injury that led to him being 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.

At the zoom court hearing, members of the McLellan family were present, including mother Rose-Anne and father Kent, as was Van Hoof. For nearly two years, Strathroy Police and the OPP focused their investigation on the parents, suggesting they were involved in the death of their son.

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