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Driver responsible for death of Orillia woman fires counsel at sentencing hearing

Tracy McLaughlin

By Tracy McLaughlin, Special to QMI AGENCY

TRACY MCLAUGHLIN/SPECIAL TO POSTMEDIA NETWORK
Andrew Fallows is shown in this file photo.

TRACY MCLAUGHLIN/SPECIAL TO POSTMEDIA NETWORK Andrew Fallows is shown in this file photo.

Family members of a young Orillia woman who was killed by a drunk driver were frustrated and angry Tuesday after the man who was convicted suddenly fired his lawyer on the day he was to be sentenced.

Last August, following his trial, a jury found Andrew Fallows, 28, of Sebright, guilty of impaired driving causing death, driving over 80 causing death, dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death and criminal negligence causing the death of 18-year-old Shania Slater.

Fallows was driving with almost three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood when he careened into a concrete divider on Highway 11 in Oro-Medonte Township at about 3 a.m Oct. 4, 2014. He also had no licence and no insurance and he has a previous conviction for impaired driving.

The jury heard Fallows moved Slater's body as she lay dying so he could take her place in the passenger seat to try to avoid being charged.

Family members filled the court Tuesday, ready to read victim impact statements on how Slater's tragic death has affected their lives. Some family members travelled from Brampton to be there, but as they sat in court waiting, Fallows announced to the judge he had fired his lawyer, causing gasps in the courtroom.

"This is just some sort of a joke ... a delay tactic," one upset family member said.

Defence lawyer Eginhart Ehlers appeared surprised at his client's last-minute decision to fire him.

"I have new counsel in mind," Fallows told the judge as he stood in the prisoner's box in handcuffs.

Justice John McCarthy reluctantly agreed to allow Fallows time to hire a new lawyer, which will be through legal aid.

"The matter will proceed Nov. 3 whether or not you are represented," the judge warned.

The Crown will be seeking a prison sentence of eight to 10 years.



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