By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on January 9, 2024.
A southern Alberta man who was ordered last September to stand trial on several sex-related offences, is still waiting to schedule a trial.
The matter was in Lethbridge Court of King’s Bench Monday where Lethbridge lawyer Marcus Mueller acknowledged that the case has been “dragging” on since the preliminary hearing in September. He said he was still unable to confirm trial dates but assured the court he would contact the assigned Crown prosecutor “to get us a date.”
“It does seem to be drifting a bit,” agreed Justice Glen Poelman, who adjourned the matter to Feb. 12 to schedule a trial.
Mohammed Neirabani was ordered to stand trial on charges sexual contact with a child, sexual counsel of a child and sexual assault of a person under the age of 16. He was originally 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, but following the preliminary hearing in September, he was committed to stand trial on three of the charges.
The accused 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 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 last February in Lethbridge court of justice, but it was adjourned after the accused and his lawyer at the time, Kirsten Lancee of Calgary, parted ways, and Lancee was permitted to get off the record. Mueller took over the file a few days later.
The accused re-elected in April to be tried in Court of King’s Bench by a judge and jury.