Lawyer for mother whose son died in Grand River seeks change of venue for trial

The lawyer for Michelle Hanson, whose son Kaden Young died in February 2018 after he was swept down the Grand River west of Orangeville, plans to file a motion to move the trial to a new location.

Kaden Young, 3, died after he was swept down the Grand River in Feb. 2018

Michelle Hanson faces charges of impaired driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death after the van she was driving in February 2018 went into the Grand River and her son, Kaden Young, was swept away. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

The lawyer for an Ontario mother whose son died when he was swept down the Grand River during flooding in February 2018 is seeking to have her trial moved to a new location.

Michelle Hanson faces two charges in relation to her son's death: impaired driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death. A previous charge of dangerous driving causing death was withdrawn in May.

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

There was flooding in the area near Hanson's 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 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.

Hanson was ordered to stand trial in July.

On Monday, Danielle Garbaty, the assistant Crown in Orangeville, said the case is due to return to court on February 11, although the application to change the venue may be completed before then.

Garbaty says she will remain on the case wherever it is heard.

Toronto-based lawyer Marco Forte represents Hanson. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but has previously said Hanson is innocent of the charges.

Forte also said previously that they were considering a change of venue for the trial because of the intense scrutiny the case has received locally and online.

"It's a small community … It's been incredibly difficult for Ms. Hanson to continue to live in that community and she's certainly aware of a lot of those social media takes," he said.

"She also has faith in the system and faith in her community, but it is a concern."


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