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Oct. 25, 2021 | Monday
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Accused in pedestrian fatality back in court in October
Matthew Wilson died after being hit on Lakeshore Road.

A Niagara-on-the-Lake man is to appear in court in October on a charge of failing to report an accident in connection with the death of a pedestrian on Lakeshore Road in April.

Robert Enns, 54, was charged in May after Matthew Wilson was struck as he walked home toward NOTL along Lakeshore late at night on April 4.

At the time, Niagara Regional Police said Wilson, 40, was hit by an eastbound Ford F-150 pickup truck. His body was found in a roadside ditch the next morning.

Police have refused to identify the accused in this case, noting he was charged under the Highway Traffic Act, not a more serious Criminal Code offence.

The Ontario Court of Justice in Welland, where the case is being heard, was unable to produce records of the case without the name of the accused.

However, members of the public told The Lake Report that Enns was the person charged. A search of court records validated that and on Tuesday a legal representative for Enns appeared in court on his behalf via Zoom.

Law clerk Edward Booker requested disclosure of the Crown's case against Enns.

Prosecutor Marie Strub advised that extensive disclosure of "more than 234 pages" of evidence is being made available in the case.

Information on this case from Niagara police has been somewhat confusing. The Lake Report has followed the investigation since April and regularly checked in with police for updates but was only told the investigation was continuing.

On June 14, a police spokesperson said, "After a lengthy and comprehensive investigation based on an analysis of evidence collected at the scene and information received from the public, the driver of the motor vehicle involved in the collision has been charged. That is all the information I can provide at this time."

Later that same day, the police said there had been a "miscommunication" and that "charges will be laid, however are pending, therefore once again due to privacy we cannot release further information."

However, public court documents signed by Niagara police officer Mark Ventresca and by a justice of the peace state that a summons was sworn in Welland almost three weeks earlier, on May 25. 

That failure to report summons makes no mention of Wilson, or a fatal incident. It only alludes to not reporting an accident "resulting in damage to property apparently exceeding $2,000."

On June 22, almost one month after the summons was issued, after further inquiries by The Lake Report, the police issued a one-sentence news update saying a NOTL man was facing a single charge under the Highway Traffic Act.

Asked to explain the delay, police on Wednesday said, "There was an unforeseen processing delay. Information was released as soon as appropriate."