June 22nd, 2024

Human trafficking trial cancelled over breakdown between accused and lawyer

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on February 25, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A three-day trial for a man facing numerous sex-related offences in relation to a human trafficking case, has been cancelled.

Mohammad Neirabani was scheduled to stand trial earlier in the week, but it was adjourned after the accused and his lawyer, Kirsten Lancee of Calgary, parted ways, and Lancee was permitted to get off the record.

Neirabani was back in court Friday, where the judge was told the accused had already hired Lethbridge Lawyer Marcus Mueller, and the matter was adjourned to March 17 to allow defence time to receive and review disclosure from the Crown’s office.

Crown Prosecutor James Rouleau, who confirmed there had been a breakdown between Neirabani and his previous lawyer, consented to the adjournment, but stressed the matter needs to move forward as quickly as possible.

“While the matter is new to my friend’s office, it’s now quite a dated matter,” Rouleau pointed out. “New counsel certainly needs to get up to speed, but my friend’s office can expect that the assigned prosecutors will be looking to move that matter forward in a fairly timely fashion, given the age of the file.”

Neirabani is charged with 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, being a party with others to sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, trafficking in persons and luring a child.

Neirabani is part of a group of men and two youth who were charged in August of 2021 in relation to a 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 additional victims came forward later in connection with the investigation.

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Your title is incorrect and as a journalist, you should do better. It is not cancelled, it is delayed or postponed or put over, but not cancelled!!!