Killer officer’s lawyer owes Ont. thousands

Published in the Windsor Star – for the website, click HERE
The Canadian Press| Apr 04, 2013 | Last Updated: Apr 04, 2013 – 7:10 UTCThe Canadian Press| Apr 04, 2013 | Last Updated: Apr 04, 2013 – 7:10 UTC

An assessment of the taxpayer-funded legal bills of a former Toronto police officer who killed his lover has found that one of his lawyers overbilled the province by nearly $200,000.

Richard Wills was convicted of first-degree murder in 2007 for killing Linda Mariani then stuffing her body in a garbage can and sealing it behind a wall in his basement. Wills was once a millionaire, but he systematically divested himself of his assets, then ran up a $1.2-million legal bill to Legal Aid Ontario and the Ministry of the Attorney General.

The ministry asked the court to assess the legal bills of two of the several lawyers Wills went through and the court found Wednesday that of the approximately $770,000 that Munyonzwe Hamalengwa billed, about $178,000 was “excessive.”

The government did not pay Hamalengwa, who represented Wills on many pre-trial motions, for the last bill he submitted, so that leaves Hamalengwa owing the province $86,000.

The bills for the other lawyer, Raj Napal, have not yet been assessed and a lawsuit launched by the government to recover money spent on Wills’ defence was put on hold until both assessment proceedings are finished.

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