Kitchener-Waterloo

Mother of boy who died after being swept down Grand River ordered to stand trial

Michelle Hanson has been ordered to stand trial on two charges related to her son's death. Kaden Young, 3, died in February 2018 after he was swept down the Grand River west of Orangeville during flooding.

Defence to consider application to move trial to a new venue

Michelle Hanson, seen in this file photo, will stand trial for two charges she faces in relation to her son's death. Kaden Young, 3, died in February 2018 after he was swept down the Grand River during flooding. Hanson has been charged with impaired driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Michelle Hanson will stand trial for two charges related to the death of her son, Kaden Young.

Hanson, 35, faces two charges: impaired driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death. A previous charge of dangerous driving causing death was withdrawn in May.

Kaden, 3, died after he was swept down the Grand River west of Orangeville on Feb. 21, 2018.

There was flooding in the area near her home in Amaranth Township, west of Orangeville. Just before 1 a.m., police say Hanson drove around a road closure sign about a kilometre from their home.

The sign was in place because of the flooding and resulting water over the road. Hanson's van went into the Grand River, and police say as Hanson and Young got out of the van, she lost her grip on her son and he was swept away.

Hundreds of people helped to search for the boy. Young's body was recovered two months later on April 21.

Defence may request change in venue

The ruling for Hanson to stand trial came after a preliminary inquiry this month. There is a publication ban on evidence raised during the inquiry. 

Hanson's lawyer, Marco Forte, told CBC News he wasn't surprised by the ruling, saying there's a "low evidentiary threshold" that the inquiry required. His client will plead not guilty.

They were "happy, or at least satisfied, with how the evidence came out at the preliminary inquiry."

He said they will now consider an application to change the venue of the trial.

"There's some concern about whether or not we'd be able to receive a fair trial," Forte said, adding many in the community are connected to the case and "how much information, frankly misinformation, has been proliferated through social media and in some cases, even through the mainstream media."

Hanson will go before a judge and jury when the case does go to trial.

Her next court date is scheduled for September 30.

Kate Bueckert, Colin Cote-Paulette

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