BRACEBRIDGE, Ont. — A Muskoka-area woman charged with impaired driving while behind the wheel of Mayor Rob Ford’s Escalade plans to plead not guilty, her lawyer said.
Lee Anne McRobb sent a representative to her first court appearance at the Bracebridge court house Tuesday morning.
The 36-year-old Bala, Ont., woman was pulled over in picturesque Muskoka last month, allegedly driving Mr. Ford’s Cadillac Escalade, which was then impounded. Mr. Ford, who is staying in a rehab facility in cottage country, was not in the vehicle.
Ms. McRobb has retained Toronto-based lawyer Michael J. Rombis, who sent Ivon Joseph Fournier, a paralegal who owns XPolice Traffic Ticket Services, in his place to court. She faces one count of impaired driving and one count of operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content in excess of 80 milligrams. She is also accused of operating “a motor vehicle with open bottle or package of liquor therein,” contrary to the Liquor Licence Act, according to documents filed in court Tuesday.
“I can’t get into too much because of solicitor client privilege but my client intends to enter pleas of not guilty and defend the allegations,” said Mr. Rombis in a phone interview. “At this time they’re only allegations. Nothing has been proven.” He declined to comment on how his client is doing or on the amount of media attention her case has attracted.
Judge John Evans set the next court appearance for August 5, before which a “resolution meeting” is expected to occur, Crown attorney Ted Carlton told the court Tuesday.
Mr. Fournier told reporters he had received disclosure on Tuesday, but had not yet reviewed it. He described Mr. Rombis as “a fighter.”
“He believes that every tree should be shaken,” said Mr. Fournier.
In video shot by a local radio station, Ms. McRobb claimed to know the Mayor from rehab. Police said she had permission to drive the vehicle.
Mayor Ford, who has been spotted around Muskoka during his rehab, is expected to return to the campaign trail next month.