Criminal Law

Crown stays pimping charges for Gadhia’s client

Toronto criminal lawyer Roots Gadhia had all pimping charges against her client stayed during a recent matter that could have become a test case for Canada's new prostitution law.

Gadhia’s client was charged with three prostitution-related charges, including procuring a person to become a prostitute, exercising control and living on the avails of prostitution of a person under 18 years old.

The allegations against the man included that he procured a 17-year-old girl to work for him as a prostitute for only $40 a day even though she was bringing in as much as $1,500 a week in downtown Toronto.

He was arrested in February 2014 after police received a tip that there was an underage prostitute working in a hotel room.

Initially, the complainant told police that she was forced into a life of prostitution for the man.

But one day into the preliminary hearing, the Crown stayed the charges against Gadhia’s client.

Gadhia says the case could have potentially been a test case for the new prostitution law.

She notes that the Harper government was required — after the Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, [2013] 3 SCR 1101, decision — to come up with a workable set of laws that would address the Supreme Court's concerns with respect to prostitutes who choose to have an individual provide security for them.

“The law didn’t take into consideration, prior to Bedford, that there were situations in which prostitutes were willing to give their money to an individual in order to protect them,” she says. “And by putting these individuals in jeopardy of being arrested for doing their work (they would be charged with living off the avails), so to speak, it would put the prostitutes in danger because they would working on the street alone and calling on clients alone.”

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