Former Woolwich mayor was a no-show at trial for previous failure to appear; new date set for Nov. 4
Failing to appear Tuesday at his ‘failure to appear’ hearing, former Woolwich mayor Todd Cowan had a warrant out for his arrest … for the second time this year. His lawyer Thomas Brock’s subsequent request to be taken off the case as counsel was granted by the judge. Cowan turned himself into the courthouse later that afternoon and his next appearance in court is scheduled for Nov. 4.
Appearing on his behalf, Brock told the court of his many unsuccessful attempts to contact Cowan. This was the same issue earlier this year when Justice of the Peace Zeljana Radulovic issued an arrest warrant for Cowan after Brock explained he had called, left voicemail messages, and sent letters to Cowan more than 30 times.
This time, Brock says he’s made even more attempts to reach Cowan, once a day since he last saw his client. Each of his messages went unanswered.
“I have phoned Mr. Cowan since I last saw him 49 times; left messages, every day, since Aug. 10. And I’ve written him on numerous occasions,” Brock said.
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Cowan was supposed to appear at the Kitchener Court House on Oct. 27 to answer to a ‘failure to appear’ charge levied on July 21. He was required to be in court that day to respond to charges of fraud and breach of trust in relation to accusations of double-billing expenses when he held a seat both on Waterloo Region and Woolwich Township council.
He paid back the full amount, $2,770.68, claiming the duplicate billing was his own accounting error.
“I’m going to file some exhibits, a number of letters that I’ve written him reminding him of today’s date commencing Aug. 26, Sept. 14, Sept. 23, and recently Oct. 15,” Brock said to show his continued efforts to contact Cowan.
Brock appeared on Cowan’s behalf on Aug. 11.
Judge Gary Hearn agreed to remove Brock as counsel. He had previously asked to withdraw when he couldn’t reach Cowan, but retracted it after the first arrest warrant was issued.
Cowan’s name was paged twice to come to the courtroom, to no avail.
“Usually I don’t remove counsel when their clients don’t appear at this time. In this case I’m going to remove you as counsel as per your request. Mr. Cowan should appreciate that you’ve been making valiant efforts to contact him with no response. There’s a history here with respect to non-attendance previously,” Hearn said.
The judge then issued the arrest warrant for Cowan.
Cowan turned himself in on July 24 after the first arrest warrant was issued. He was let go after paying $1,000 bail and promising to appear at his next court date, Oct. 27.
Cowan’s case has been before the court since Mar. 3. It has been unable to move forward due to Cowan’s lack of communication with his lawyer.
Brock asked that the trial date of Nov. 23 be freed up for other cases, due to Cowan’s lack of communication. But, after Cowan turned himself in, the trial date was set to go as previously scheduled. The trial is expected to last four days if and when it gets underway.