017 ONSC 377

In 2017 ONSC 377, the court decided on the admissibility of several pages of Instagram posts which included themes of recruiting women off of the internet to provide sexual services for money and of violent control of prostitutes by pimps. Some were considered relevant to the accused’s state of mind and were probative about his intent. Those that did not have clear probative value were excluded.

In a related decision, the Court ordered that 45-year-old Mr. B be held in custody pending trial.  B faced seven charges, including sexual assault, receiving a material benefit from the commission of human trafficking, receiving financial benefit from Ms. M’s prostitution, recruiting a minor for the purpose of exploitation, obtaining sexual services for consideration from a minor, advertising sexual services of another person, and possession. B was alleged to have coerced a 19-year-old woman into going to Toronto with him to act as an escort.  They had met when Mr. B began liking her photos and messaging her on Facebook. M allegedly placed her photo and an advertisement on the internet and brought the complainant to meet with clients at various hotels, where he confined her to her room by keeping the key card for the room. Also tendered at the bail hearing was evidence suggesting B had posted numerous Facebook and Instagram posts publicizing the availability of sexual services, as well as text messages between B and a former girlfriend allegedly discussing the recruitment of the complainant as a sex worker.

Also see: 2016 ONSC 7641  (Applications to introduce opinion evidence and evidence of accused’s discreditable conduct); 2015 ONSC 4858  (Application for a review of a decision granting  judicial interim release by a Justice of the Peace).

Criminal Offence(s): Human Trafficking and Advertising Sexual Services, Sexual Assault