The Strathroy woman charged with manslaughter in the death of the child Nathaniel McLellan changed attorneys, causing a delay in the progress of the case.

Meggin Van Hoof hired London criminal lawyer Jenny Prosser, was heard in court Thursday. London lawyer Peter Downing had been representing Van Hoof.

Prosser told the Ontario Court of Justice that she was just hired and needs time to review the disclosure the Crown attorney previously provided. The court set December 16 as the date to return, presumably to set a date for a trial.

Van Hoof, 42, was charged on June 23 with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Nathaniel in 2015. 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.

In September, Downing, his former lawyer, told the court that he had not received all the information from the Crown. The court agreed that the case would return in two months. Downing was not in court yesterday, but the new attorney, Prosser, was.

There was a brief discussion in court about a legal technicality. Van Hoof did not appear in court: Downing would be there on his behalf. With Downing getting permission from the court to be removed as Van Hoof’s legal counsel, and with Prosser simply assuming his defense and the formal paperwork not completed, that meant that on paper Van Hoof was not fulfilling his responsibility to be in court or that she designates there. As a result, at the request of the new attorney Prosser, the court issued a “discretionary arrest warrant.” That means that if Van Hoof or his new attorney did not appear in court in December, Van Hoof could be arrested for violating bail conditions.

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Prosser told the court that she had only been detained in the last few days and that she had been in contact with both Downing and Crown. She said the December 16 date “should be enough time to get the disclosure and move this matter forward.”

The Star attempted to reach Prosser by phone and email, but has yet to respond.

Nathaniel was in Van Hoof’s care on October 27, 2015 when, as detailed in the Star series, he entered danger. Van Hoof called Rose-Anne, Nathaniel’s mother, who picked up her son and took him to the hospital. 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.

On Thursday, Rose-Anne was in court for Zoom. Outside of court, he said he hopes there will be no further delays.

“[As] As part of honoring the memory of our son and our children’s brother, Nathaniel, our family will continue to be patient but steadfast in our pursuit of justice. As a family, we continue to mourn his loss, but we will always be Nathaniel’s voice, ”he said.

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