Criminal defence lawyer Cassandra DeMelo founded DeMelo Heathcote as a means of ensuring that all individuals across London and Southwestern Ontario are represented fairly before the courts. Learn more about the firm below, or contact us to get started immediately.

About Cassandra

She/Her

Founding Partner

Cassandra DeMelo is a native of London, Ontario, who is fluent in Portuguese and conversational in Spanish. After receiving her undergraduate degree at Ryerson University (now Toronto Metropolitan University) in Criminal Justice, she returned to her hometown for law school. She received her Juris Doctor from Western Law. She thanks the Legal Aid clinic at Western, Community Legal Services, for the fantastic training she was given by them as a student.

After law school, she articled with Lerners LLP. Since being admitted to the Ontario Bar in 2013, she has practiced exclusively in criminal law – a life-long aspiration for her. Cassandra is honoured to be serving her hometown as a criminal defence attorney.

Cassandra holds her Masters of Law from Western University on the issue of mental health and bail hearings. She is currently a PhD student at Western Law, focusing on drug reform. She is a lecturer at Western Law, teaching the book she co-authored for LexisNexis: “Law and Mental Health in Canada: Cases and Materials”.

Cassandra appears regularly before the Ontario Court of Justice and Superior Court of Justice throughout southwestern Ontario. She also appears before the Ontario Review Board regularly. Finally, she has appeared at all levels of appeal court, including the Ontario Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Cassandra is the President of the London Criminal Lawyers’ Association, a founding member and treasurer for Women in Canadian Criminal Defence (WiCCD – pronounced “wicked”), and the previous Vice President and now London Director for the Criminal Lawyers’ Association. She is a Director for St. Joseph’s Hospice, and enjoys volunteering around London.

When Cassandra isn’t practicing law, she spends time with her husband, Josh, who also owns his own business as a Personal Trainer.  She is an avid dancer, enjoys travelling the world, and loves sharing good food with her large Portuguese family.

About Katie

She/Her

Partner

Katie Heathcote is a native of Windsor, Ontario. She studied Criminology, Sociology, and French at the University of Windsor, graduating with an Honours Bachelor of Arts. Katie earned a Canadian law degree at the University of Windsor and an American law degree at the University of Detroit Mercy in 2017. In law school, Katie focused her studies in criminal law and volunteered at the Community Legal Aid Clinic.

Katie worked as an articling student at a well-known criminal defence firm in Windsor and was admitted to the Bar of Ontario in June of 2018. She subsequently worked as an associate lawyer at DeMelo Law for four years before becoming partner in October of 2022.

Katie is the London Regional Director of the provincial Criminal Lawyers’ Association and the Social Director of the London Criminal Lawyers’ Association.  Katie sits on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of London and Area, is a member of the Governance Committee for that organization, as well as a dedicated “Big Sister”.

Outside of practicing law, Katie enjoys cooking, travelling and spending time with her family, friends and her miniature Yorkie, Czechy (“Checky”).

About Cleto

He/Him

Associate Lawyer

Cleto Villacorta is an old newcomer to London. He spent his weekends and free-time in London in 2015 while studying at the Internationally Trained Lawyers Program of the University of Toronto and again in 2018 through to 2019 while a student-at-law in the Law Practice Program of Ryerson University.

London is home to him just as Winnipeg in Manitoba, which has been his place of residence for over 10 years. His background in criminal law started when he was a prosecutor and a judge in the Philippines, and continued in Canada when he articled for a criminal defence lawyer in Winnipeg. He worked in Toronto for a regulatory body and a personal injury law firm, but his passion
has always been in criminal law practice.

A member of the Philippine Bar, Cleto was admitted to the Bar of Ontario in January of 2020. He is fluent in English and Filipino. In his free time, he enjoys writing and editing law-related materials and trying out variations of his favorite old recipes.

About Kennedy

She/Her

Articling Student 2023/2024

Kennedy Neustaeter is an Edmonton, Alberta native. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (with Distinction) from the University of Alberta in 2020.  She has since made London home and is completing her law degree at Western University.

Kennedy has dedicated her time throughout law school to bettering the lives of her peers and members of the community. She has been involved with both clinics at the school – Community Legal Services and Sport Solution. She is the President of Western Law’s student government, the Student Legal Society, and has been involved all three years of her legal studies. In this role, Kennedy advocates for various student needs and initiatives. 

Kennedy is working part-time during her third year with DeMelo Heathcote, and looks forward to completing her articles with them in 2023/2024.

Outside of the office, Kennedy enjoys going out with her friends and family, attending concerts, playing golf, and cheering on the Edmonton Oilers. 

About Victoria

She/Her

Articling Student 2023/2024

Victoria Adams has called London, Ontario home for 20 years, and has strong connections throughout Southwestern Ontario. She has personal ties to St Thomas and Port Stanley, and family ties to Chatham and West Lorne, Ontario.

Victoria obtained her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sussex in Brighton, England; and her Honours Bachelor of Arts, with a major in Criminology, from Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford, Ontario. Victoria was part of the first graduating class from the partnership program between Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University and England’s University of Sussex.

In law school, Victoria was an advisor with the Sussex Family Law Clinic. In this role, she advised clients on child protection and child access issues, often at a stage where the courts were already involved. Victoria understood the pressing nature of these matters and their emotional toll on the client and their family, and so proceeded with empathy and vigilance. Victoria’s efforts culminated with her being awarded the Clinical Legal Education distinction for her dedication to client care.

Outside of work, Victoria enjoys gardening and leading a natural life. She has recently taken up archery and sailing. Victoria reads non-fiction in the genres of philosophy, history, and political science.

About Brandon

He/Him

Accounts Manager

Brandon Clarke was born and raised in London, Ontario. He graduated with distinction from the University of Western Ontario with an Honours Specialization in Criminology and a Minor in Dance. Brandon is a recognized award-winning student, after obtaining the prestigious Principal Regis Entrance Scholarship for his academic success. He was also given the Golden K Award from the King’s University College Students’ Council for his contributions to the community both on and off campus.

During his undergrad, he co-founded a research team called the Not Asking for It (NAFI) project, with the objective of increasing student feelings of safety through policy change, and education surrounding sexual and gender-based violence.

Outside of DeMelo Law, Brandon can also be found instructing classes, choreographing routines, or working the front desk at Dance Extreme Inc. here in London.

About Katie 

She/Her

Articling Student 2024/2025

Katie Gosen arrived to London from Kitchener, Ontario. While completing her undergrad at Western, she earned her honours double major Bachelors Degree in Women’s Studies and Sexuality Studies, graduating with several distinctions including receiving the Stuart R. Dunsworth scholarship in Sexuality Studies, and being the recipient of two Western Gold Medals for each of her majors, which set an unprecedented record.

She is now a third-year law student at Western University, where she is applying her extensive background in community organization by specializing in Criminal Law. Katie also volunteers with SafeSpace while working at the Community Legal Services clinic at Western, which she joined in her first year. She also works to encourage community building, representation and advocacy for LGBTQ+ students in her role as President of the Western OUTLaws; Katie’s passion for advocacy is informed through phenomenological study which is employed through an intersectional lens.

Outside of her legal work, Katie enjoys pole dancing, writing, watching classic cinema, and cooking international dishes for her chosen family and partner.

About Aiden

He/Him

Paralegal

Aiden Ross is a newcomer to London. He studied Criminal Justice and Public Policy at the University of Guelph and went on to Conestoga College where he took the Paralegal Program. He has previously worked for defence counsel in Kitchener, Ontario where he discovered his passion for criminal law.

When he’s not in the office, Aiden enjoys, reading, hiking, and playing board games.

About Haley

She/Her

Paralegal

Haley Moir calls London, Ontario home. She studied Public Relations at Conestoga College in 2012 but decided to pursue a diploma in Paralegal studies, as she has always been passionate about Criminal and Social Justice. She graduated the program with distinction and is thrilled to be working in the industry.

Outside of work, Haley enjoys spending time with her two young boys, snowboarding and traveling.

Fair Representation in the Courts

Cassandra has a reputation for fighting vigorously for her clients, and for recognizing that a criminal charge does not define an individual.

Community Legal Involvement

Cassandra has worked tirelessly with the Community Legal Services clinic at Western University, as both a student and Review Counsel.

You hope to never need the advice of a criminal defence lawyer. But if you do, you will be glad you called us.