June 18th, 2024

Calgary doctor pleads not guilty in human trafficking case


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on March 19, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Calgary doctor accused with nearly a dozen other individuals in relation to a human trafficking case in Lethbridge, has pleaded not guilty to his charges.
During a brief hearing Friday in Lethbridge provincial court, Calgary lawyer James Hawkins pleaded not guilty on behalf of his client, Ziyaad Noor, to charges of sexual contact with a child, sexual counsel of a child, sexual assault of a person under the age of 16, sexual assault causing bodily harm, aggravated sexual assault, trafficking in persons, and being party to sexual assault.
Noor also elected to be tried by a provincial court judge, and the matter was adjourned for two weeks to arrange a pre-trial conference and possibly set a trial date.
Noor is the third accused to plead not guilty to his charges. Meriton Krasniqi pleaded not guilty to similar charges in January, and Khaled Alsaid pleaded not guilty the same month to charges of sexual assault, sexual assault of a person under the age of 16, sexual contact with a child and sexual counsel of a child.
Alsaid’s matter was also back in court Friday, where his lawyer, Rabie Ahmed of Calgary, said he needs more time to discuss the charges with Calgary Crown Prosecutor Joe Mercier before setting a trial date. Lethbridge prosecutor Sheena Campbell, who represented Mercier during Friday’s hearing, noted a pre-trial conference has already been held and the Crown is ready to proceed to trial.
Following the arrest of 10 individuals last August, police said several men groomed a 15-year-old girl and took her to various locations where sex offences took place. The same individuals also engaged in sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl, and three additional victims came forward later in connection with the investigation.
Also charged are Fadi Chtewi, Abdullah Mohammad, Mohammad Zafari, Mohammad Neirabani and Mahmoud Neirabani. Two youths who cannot be identified, were also charged. One of the youths recently resolved his matters and was given a two-year deferred custody and supervision order.

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