June 14th, 2024

Trial scheduled in human trafficking case


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on March 4, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A trial has been scheduled for one of eight men charged last summer in relation to human trafficking and other sex-related offences.
Meriton Krasniqi, who pleaded not guilty Jan. 7, is set to stand trial in September on charges of sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, sexual assault causing bodily harm, sexual assault/party to offence with another person, aggravated sexual assault, trafficking in persons under the age of 18, and two counts of sexual assault.
Police alleged that several men from Lethbridge and Calgary selected and groomed a 15-year-old girl and took her to specific locations where sex offences occurred. The same individuals had also engaged in sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl, and three additional complainants came forward later in connection with the investigation.
Eight adults and two youth were arrested in August and charged with various sex offences. One of the adults accused, Khalid Alsaid, pleaded not guilty Jan. 14 to his charges of sexual assault, sexual assault of a person under the age of 16, sexual contact with a child, sexual counsel of a child, and failure to comply with release conditions. He is scheduled for a court hearing later this month, ostensibly to set a trial date.
The other accused are Fadi Chtewi, Abdullah Mohammed, Mohammad Neiribani, Mahmoud Neirabani, Mohammad Zafari, Ziyaad Noor, and two minors who were 16 and 17 years old at the time of their arrest and cannot be identified because of their age.
One of the youths pleaded guilty last week to two counts of sexual assault against two girls, and was given a two-year deferred custody and supervision order. The order allows the offender to serve his sentence in the community, during which he is bound by several conditions. If he breaches any of the conditions he could be ordered to serve his sentence in custody.
The cases against all of the accused have been delayed several times since charges were laid, while lawyers waited to receive disclosure from Specialized Prosecutions in Calgary. The lawyers have finally received disclosure, but their matters continue to be adjourned while they review significant amounts of information.

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