July 15th, 2024

Charges expected to be withdrawn in human trafficking case


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on June 11, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

Charges against one of several individuals arrested last year in relation to human trafficking are expected to be withdrawn when the matter returns to court later in the month.
Calgary lawyer Kaysi Fagan, who was in Lethbridge provincial court Friday, said she had spoken to the Crown Prosecutor before court and he is prepared to deal with most of the charges when the case is back in court June 22.
“My friend is either going to be withdrawing or staying the majority of the charges that are before you, but he requires a little bit of time to do so,” Fagan said.
The accused, Mohammad Zafari, is charged with sexual contact with a child, sexual counsel of a child, sexual assault of a person under the age of 16, a party with others to sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, trafficking in persons and sexual assault.
Exactly which charges are to be withdrawn or stayed was not identified in court Friday.
The accused is part of a group of men and two youths who were charged last August in relation to human trafficking investigation. Police said several men selected and groomed a 15-year-old girl and took her to specific locations where sex offences took place. The same individuals had also engaged in sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl, and three additional victims came forward later in connection with the investigation.
The charges against all the accused include sexual interference, sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault, and all but one of the accused face charges of trafficking persons under the age of 18. They were all released on bail shortly after they were arrested, and one of the youths pleaded guilty in March to two counts of sexual assault against two girls, and was given a two-year deferred custody and supervision order, to be served in the community.
Several of the individuals have already pleaded not guilty to their charges and have either set trial dates or are soon expected to.

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