TORONTO - The criminal case of former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant will return to a Toronto court on Nov. 16.

Bryant was not in court Monday for the routine proceeding, but his lawyer Marie Henein was there to represent him.

"We're anxious to move this matter forward and proceed to trial as soon as reasonably possible," she said outside court.

Henein declined to speak further about the case.

Bryant, who was known to be grooming himself for a shot at replacing Premier Dalton McGuinty, has yet to appear in court on the matter but has publicly declared his innocence.

The 43-year-old former cabinet minister is facing charges of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving of a vehicle causing death in a fatal accident involving a cyclist on Aug. 31.

Bike courier Darcy Allan Sheppard, 33, grabbed onto a car in Toronto's tony Yorkville district following an altercation with the driver, according to police. The driver drove away with Sheppard hanging on. He then fell and suffered fatal injuries.

That night, a stunned Bryant was photographed sitting in the back of a police cruiser -- images that were broadcast across the country.

He was taken into custody by police and released the next day after the charges were laid. Bryant was released without appearing before a judge, raising questions about whether he received preferential treatment.

After spending the night in police custody, a clean-shaven Bryant emerged to face the cameras dressed in a dark suit that had been delivered to the station.

He retained the services of Toronto public-relations firm Navigator Ltd., which former prime minister Brian Mulroney employed during the Oliphant inquiry.

Toronto cyclist Anthony D'Arcy, who showed up at the courthouse Monday, said he's frustrated because he feels Bryant has an advantage.

"There's sort of a rich man, poor man thing going on. If he can hire the likes of Navigator, if he can hire obviously a very well-paid attorney, that's not something that a poor man is obviously going to be able to do," D'Arcy said.

"I think the system is set up to benefit people like him overall. He knows how to run it, he's been running it. So yeah, I hope justice holds out here, but I'm skeptical."

As attorney general, Bryant once appointed judges and oversaw Crown prosecutors, which has left the Ministry of the Attorney General treading carefully to avoid any suggestion of political interference.

Vancouver-based criminal lawyer Richard Peck will prosecute Bryant's case, and an out-of-province judge is also expected to preside over the trial to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest or special treatment. Peck did not attend Monday's proceedings.

Among the conditions of his release, Bryant is not allowed to drive a car or any motor vehicle until the end of his trial. He must remain in the province of Ontario, leave his passport with police and notify police of any change in address, employment or occupation.

Bryant, who left politics in June after a decade to become CEO of Invest Toronto, stepped down from that job shortly after he was charged.

If convicted, the Harvard-educated lawyer could also face disciplinary action from the Law Society of Upper Canada.