Marco Muzzo to be tried by judge only

A man accused of impaired driving will appear before a judge alone in Superior Court, in connection with a crash north of Toronto that claimed the lives of three children and their grandfather.

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Marco Muzzo, 29, appeared in front of a federal judge briefly on Wednesday, where his lawyer announced that he had elected to be tried by a judge without a jury. The lawyer announced that they would appear before a Superior Court justice on Wednesday afternoon, at 2:15 p.m.

He said there is sufficient evidence that Muzzo can be committed to trial on all counts.

Criminal lawyer Boris Bytensky said the decision was a "formality," and does not mean the case will necessarily go to trial.

"This is a preliminary step to getting the matter placed before the Superior Court for a judge to hear the matter and for a plea to be entered," Bytensky told CTV Toronto.

"There's been lots of speculation that a plea deal is coming today. That still could happen, (but) it hasn't happened yet and might not happen."

Muzzo is facing several charges in connection with a crash in Vaughan, Ont., including impaired driving causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.

The Sept. 27 crash fatally wounded 9-year-old Daniel, 5-year-old Harrison (Harry) and 2-year-old Milagros (Milly) Neville-Lake. The children's 65-year-old grandfather Gary Neville also died as a result of the collision, and their grandmother and great-grandmother were injured.

Muzzo appeared at a courthouse in Newmarket, Ont. shortly before 10 a.m. A short time later, CTV Toronto's Tamara Cherry reported that the courtroom was so packed that nearly two dozen people had to stand.

Some people, including members of the media, were asked to give up their seats for the family of the children who died in the crash.

Before the hearing began, the Muzzo case was moved to a larger courtroom, Cherry reported. In the new courtroom, Muzzo's lawyer announced the decision to go before a Superior Court justice.

With files from CTV Toronto's Tamara Cherry and Colin D'Mello



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