July 20th, 2024

Accused in human trafficking case committed to stand trial

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on September 27, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A southern Alberta man accused in relation to a three-year-old human trafficking case has been ordered to stand trial.

Mohammad Neirabani, who faced eight sex-related offences, was committed Tuesday following his preliminary hearing in Lethbridge court of justice to stand trial on three of the charges; sexual contact with a child, sexual counsel of a child and sexual assault of a person under the age of 16.

Evidence presented during the hearing is subject to a court-ordered ban and cannot be published.

Neirabani is part of a group of eight men and two youths 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. Additional victims came forward later in connection with the investigation.

Neirabani was scheduled to stand trial in February in Lethbridge court of justice, 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. Lethbridge lawyer Marcus Mueller took over the file a few days later.

The accused then re-elected in April to be tried in Lethbridge Court of King’s Bench by a judge and jury, with a preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is typically held to determine whether there is enough evidence to warrant having a trial.

Charges against six of the accused men are still before the court, while the matters for the four other individuals charged have concluded.

Neirabani is scheduled to return to court Oct. 23 in Court of King’s bench, ostensibly to set dates for his trial.

Neirabani was discharged on the five remaining charges on which he wasn’t committed to stand trial.

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