It turns out third time’s a charm for former Woolwich mayor Todd Cowan.
Cowan appeared in a Kitchener courtroom Wednesday morning to answer to his previous two failure to appear charges and to confirm his trial date of Nov. 23-26.
He’s accused of double billing expenses of more than $2,700 between the Region of Waterloo and Woolwich Township when he served as mayor and the Woolwich representative on regional council. He paid back the full amount, calling it a mix-up due to poor bookkeeping. After an investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police, he was subsequently charged with fraud and breach of trust.
Twice this year an arrest warrant was issued for Cowan after he failed to appear in court, having not replied to numerous messages left by his lawyer Thomas Brock. He then turned himself in shortly thereafter on both occasions. He was required to pay a $1,000 bail the first time with the promise to return to his next court date on Oct. 27, which he did not despite 49 phone calls and letters from Brock. That’s when the second arrest warrant was issued.
Brock had asked to be taken off the case as counsel and was granted that, but as of this week is back on as Cowan’s lawyer.
“I can now go back on record for Mr. Cowan before you,” Brock said in court. “I was removed on prior attendance due to some difficulties I was experiencing. Those difficulties now seem to be resolved.”
Judge Paddy Hardman added an amendment to the case for the charges to reflect they allegedly occurred not on a specific date, but sometime between Jan. 1, 2012 and Feb. 28, 2014.
The trial will run Nov. 23, Nov. 25, and Nov. 26. They cancelled the Nov. 24 trial day for Brock to be with his wife as she undergoes surgery. Three days is expected to be enough to hear the evidence at the Ontario Court of Justice.