BACKGROUNDER - A Test of Wills Key Dates

BACKGROUNDER - A Test of Wills Key Dates

February 26, 2008

26 February, 2008

A Test of Wills Key Dates.

  • February 15, 2002 - Linda Mariani reported missing.

  • March 2002 - Richard Wills makes separation agreement with wife.

  • June 4, 2002 - Wills transfers $120,000 to wife from bank credit line.

  • June 6, 2002 - Wills transfers joint interest in property to wife.

  • June-December 2002 - Wills hires lawyers Timothy and Peter Danson, surrenders to police, is charged with murder, pays the Dansons $30,000; fires them.

  • December 4, 2002-September 2003 - Wills hires lawyer Todd White, pays him $50,000; fires him, receives $10,000 back, gives it to wife; also begins transferring interest in five properties to family members, cashes in RRSPs and pension.

  • September 2003 - Wills applies for legal aid; Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) offers aid to be paid back at $500/month; Wills refuses, asks court to appoint lawyer, court refuses.

  • December 3, 2003 - Justice Joseph F. Kenkel appoints Howard Borenstein as amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) to ensure Wills’ legal rights.

  • February 27, 2004 - Wills again offered aid that must be repaid at $500/month; he refuses.

  • March 10, 2004 - Justice Alan W. Bryant hears application for Rowbotham order (to have the Ministry of the Attorney General [MAG]fund Wills’ defence); dismisses it.

  • March 15, 2004 - Preliminary hearing begins.

  • November 12, 2004 - Preliminary hearing ends when Attorney General invokes rarely used power to send the case directly to trial.

  • January 4-February 2, 2005 - Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy reappoints Mr. Borenstein to assist with second Rowbotham order application; grants the order.

  • April 28, 2005 - Justice Shaughnessy makes Fisher order directing MAG to pay legal fees in excess of legal aid rates; lawyer Cynthia Wasser hired at $200/hour.

  • September 6, 2005 - Wills fires Ms. Wasser and co-counsel Breese Davies.

  • October 28, 2005 - Justice Shaughnessy reappoints Mr. Borenstein as amicus curiae.

  • January 19-June 2006 - Lawyer Munyonzwe Hamalengwa hired at $200/hour. Directed to submit his accounts to LAO for review; he protests.

  • June 6, 2006 - Justice Shaughnessy rules that LAO should “vet” Mr. Hamalengwa’s accounts, LAO asks Mr. Hamalengwa to meet and set a budget.

  • July 31, 2006 - Crown pre-trial motions begin.

  • August 18, 2006 - Mr. Hamalengwa tells LAO’s Big Case Management Director that LAO’s role is only to “add up the math”; the director sends letter to MAG and judge indicating LAO is reviewing the bills.

  • January 9, 2007 - Defence pre-trial motions begin.

  • May 14, 2007 - Wills’ trial begins with jury selection before Justice Michelle Fuerst.

  • May 18, 2007 - Raj Napal replaces Mr. Hamalengwa as lead counsel (Mr. Hamalengwa fired); submits list of 18 expert witnesses he intends to call at trial.

  • May 31, 2007 - MAG learns LAO has been merely “adding up the math” on the Wills case.

  • June 14, 2007 - Justice Shaughnessy issues new order explicitly stating LAO’s responsibility for financial controls in the case.

  • October 31, 2007 - Wills convicted of first-degree murder; reports of costs break in media.

  • November 5, 2007 - Attorney General Chris Bentley announces acceleration of protocol between LAO and MAG for the handling of cases similar to Wills.

  • November 6, 2007 - Ombudsman André Marin announces investigation.

  • December 12, 2007 - MAG protocol with LAO announced.

  • February 6, 2008 - Wills files appeal.

  • February 26, 2008 - Ombudsman releases report with recommendations.