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Toronto Human Trafficking Criminal Defence Lawyer
Toronto Trafficking in Persons Criminal Defence Lawyer

Mississauga, Brampton and Newmarket Human Trafficking Lawyer

Human trafficking accusations have the potential to ruin lives. A conviction can mean prison time, but it also carries life-long consequences. If committed in conjunction with a sexual offence, you may be required to register as a sex offender, and you may be required to report all your movements regularly. More information on the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA), the National Sex Offender Registry and the Ontario Sex Offender Registry is available here.

A conviction for human trafficking can prevent you from getting a job and could block you from travelling outside Canadian borders. Beyond that, the stigma that attaches to those convicted of human trafficking can forever change the way others view you.

For all of these reasons, it is critical that you have a skilled, knowledgeable defence lawyer on your side. I have more than 30 years of experience defending against human trafficking charges. I believe strongly that everyone deserves a defence, and I will work hard to build the strongest possible case on your behalf.

When you hire me as your lawyer, I will meticulously evaluate all of the evidence against you and create the strongest possible defence on your behalf. If your case requires a jury trial, I have the necessary experience, advocacy skills and confidence to convincingly argue your case to the jury.

To arrange a free initial consultation with a Toronto human trafficking defence lawyer, please call (416) 651-2299 or toll free 1-888-399-3164. You can also contact my law firm online.

Toronto Lawyer Defending Against All Human Trafficking Charges

Human trafficking and related activities are serious criminal offences. There are three types of prohibitions: the first is a global prohibition on the trafficking of persons; the second is a prohibition on benefiting from such trafficking; and the third is a prohibition on withholding or destroying identity, travel or immigration documents to facilitate human trafficking.

Consent is not a defence to a charge of human trafficking.

The relevant sections of the Criminal Code of Canada read as follows:

Section 279.01(1)

Every person who recruits, transports, transfers, receives, holds, conceals or harbours a person, or exercises control, direction or influence over the movements of a person, for the purpose of exploiting them or facilitating their exploitation is guilty of an indictable offence and liable

(a) to imprisonment for life if they kidnap, commit an aggravated assault or aggravated sexual assault against, or cause death to, the victim during the commission of the offence; or

(b) to imprisonment for a term of not more than fourteen years in any other case.

(2) No consent to the activity that forms the subject-matter of a charge under subsection (1) is valid.

...

Section 279.02

Every person who receives a financial or other material benefit, knowing that it results from the commission of an offence under subsection 279.01(1) or 279.011(1), is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than ten years.

Section 279.03

Every person who, for the purpose of committing or facilitating an offence under subsection 279.01(1) or 279.011(1), conceals, removes, withholds or destroys any travel document that belongs to another person or any document that establishes or purports to establish another person's identity or immigration status is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years, whether or not the document is of Canadian origin or is authentic.

There is a mandatory minimum sentence for offences involving the trafficking of persons under the age of 18. Section 279.011(1) reads as follows:

Section 279.011(1)

Every person who recruits, transports, transfers, receives, holds, conceals or harbours a person under the age of eighteen years, or exercises control, direction or influence over the movements of a person under the age of eighteen years, for the purpose of exploiting them or facilitating their exploitation is guilty of an indictable offence and liable

(a) to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six years if they kidnap, commit an aggravated assault or aggravated sexual assault against, or cause death to, the victim during the commission of the offence; or

(b) to imprisonment for a term of not more than fourteen years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of five years, in any other case.

(2) No consent to the activity that forms the subject-matter of a charge under subsection (1) is valid.

Section 279.04 provides a definition of the term "exploit" found in sections 279.01 to 279.03 and lists a number of factors that a court may use to consider whether exploitation existed in the circumstances.

Section 279.04(1)

For the purposes of sections 279.01 to 279.03, a person exploits another person if they cause them to provide, or offer to provide, labour or a service by engaging in conduct that, in all the circumstances, could reasonably be expected to cause the other person to believe that their safety or the safety of a person known to them would be threatened if they failed to provide, or offer to provide, the labour or service.

(2) In determining whether an accused exploits another person under subsection (1), the Court may consider, among other factors, whether the accused

(a) used or threatened to use force or another form of coercion;

(b) used deception; or

(c) abused a position of trust, power or authority.

(3) For the purposes of sections 279.01 to 279.03, a person exploits another person if they cause them, by means of deception or the use or threat of force or of any other form of coercion, to have an organ or tissue removed.

Canada exercises extraterritorial jurisdiction over human trafficking and its related offences pursuant to section 7(4.11).

Trafficking In Persons Captures a Wide Range of Behaviour

Section 279.01 captures a wide range of behaviour, including the transport, recruitment and transfer of a person, which may constitute human trafficking if the element of exploitation exists in conjunction with those actions. Broadly speaking, section 279.04 identifies two instances where exploitation exists. The first circumstance is where the exploited person is forced to provide services or labour, such as sexual services, because they fear for their own safety or the safety of others. The second circumstance is where the accused uses threats, deception or coercion to have a complainant's organ or tissue removed.

Prohibition Orders - Section 161 of the Criminal Code of Canada

A person who is found guilty of committing an offence under Section 279.011, Section 279.02(2) or Section 279.03(2) with respect to a person who is under the age of 16 years also faces the possibility that the court may make an order prohibiting the offender from engaging in activity that may bring the offender in contact with persons under the age of 16 years. This prohibition order is discretionary. The prohibition order may be for life or any shorter period that the court considers desirable. The court may also make the prohibition order subject to conditions or exemptions that the court considers appropriate.

The prohibition order may prohibit the offender from doing any or all of the following:

a) attending a public park or public swimming area where persons under the age of 16 years are present or can reasonably be expected to be present, or a day care centre, school ground, playground or community centre;

(b) seeking, obtaining or continuing any employment, whether or not the employment is remunerated, or becoming or being a volunteer in a capacity that involves being in a position of trust or authority toward persons under the age of 16 years;

(c) having any contact - including communicating by any means - with a person who is under the age of 16 years, unless the offender does so under the supervision of a person whom the court considers appropriate; or

(d) using the Internet or other digital network unless the offender does so in accordance with conditions set by the court.

An intelligent approach to protect your rights

In creating a strong defence in human trafficking cases, pre-trial investigation is key. I will seek out any information that could lead to a successful outcome in your case. If necessary, I will retain the services of private investigators and expert witnesses.

DNA and Other Forensic Evidence

Forensic evidence, such as DNA evidence, is just one type of evidence that the Crown can try to introduce against a person accused of a crime. The defence can challenge the admissibility of forensic evidence on the basis of relevance, prejudice or that there is a lack of a sufficient scientific foundation to make the evidence reliable and worthy of being admitted, in other words, the forensic evidence is inadmissible because it is based on "junk science". Over the years, there have been several types of forensic evidence that have been rejected by the courts in the United States and, to a lesser extent, Canada, including voice print identification, comparative bullet lead analysis and several indicators of arson dependent on visual cues.

Likewise, there are various other types of forensic evidence which are possibly unreliable, such as microscopic hair comparison, and "pattern comparison" evidence such as bite marks, tire marks and handwriting.

Even in cases where the forensic evidence is ruled admissible, the defence can still try to weaken the impact of the evidence by arguing, for example, that the results of the forensic testing were the subject of "motivated perception". In other words, the scientist who did the testing interpreted the results so as to support his or her expectations or the expectations of the police or Crown prosecutors. The defence can argue, or call evidence to show, that the forensic examiner should have first tested the evidence blindly without knowing anything about the case in order to avoid a subconscious bias. Studies have shown that even the opinion of fingerprint analysts can be affected by the analysts' preconceived notions about the case. Also, there is always a risk of a false positive. Moreover, if the laboratory that completed the testing, such as the Centre of Forensic Sciences, is known to have made errors on occasion in the past, the defence can argue that the error rates should also be entered in evidence.

In appropriate cases, and where funds permit, the evidence can be re-tested by an independent laboratory for verification.

A good defence lawyer should know the weaknesses of specific scientific techniques or seek out an appropriate defence consulting expert to learn about and present evidence regarding those weaknesses.

Electing to Have a Preliminary Inquiry

In all cases in which a Defendant is facing a possible maximum penalty of life imprisonment, the Defendant will have the right to proceed with a preliminary inquiry in the Ontario Court of Justice and then a trial in the Superior Court of Justice before a court composed of a Judge sitting with a jury or without a jury. In the past, this level of court was referred to as "High Court".

The completion of a preliminary inquiry is not mandatory. The Defendant has the right to waive the preliminary inquiry and to proceed directly to trial in either the Ontario Court of Justice or the Superior Court of Justice. If the trial is to be completed in the Superior Court of Justice, the waiver of the preliminary inquiry will require the consent of the Crown.

At a preliminary inquiry, the Crown is required to call some evidence upon which a properly instructed jury, acting reasonably, may return a verdict of guilt. This is an easy test for the Crown to meet in the vast majority of cases. Accordingly, it is relatively rare for someone who proceeds with a preliminary inquiry to be discharged with respect to all of the charges which he or she is facing. The real value in having a preliminary inquiry is not in the hope of being entirely discharged, thereby bringing the entire criminal proceedings to an end, but in being able to better prepare the case for trial. The defence lawyer will have an opportunity to cross-examine and test the evidence of the primary Crown witnesses. An experienced and skilled defence lawyer can discover the strengths and weaknesses of the Crown witnesses and commence building an effective defence strategy. A preliminary inquiry is especially valuable for the defence in cases involving young, infirm, unreliable or unsavory Crown witnesses.

Call Toronto Human Trafficking Defence Lawyer Anthony DeMarco for a Free Consultation

Contact my Toronto, Ontario, human trafficking law firm today to discuss your human trafficking or kidnapping case. I offer a free 30-minute consultation. For your convenience, I accept Visa and offer payment plans. You can reach me by phone at 416-651-2299 or toll free 1-888-399-3164. You can also contact my law office online.

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