April 22nd, 2024

No trial date yet in sex offence case

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on February 27, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A southern Alberta man facing two-and-a-half-year-old charges for sex-related offences, has yet to set trial dates despite completion of a preliminary hearing last Fall.
Mohammed Neirabani was ordered following his preliminary hearing on Sept. 26 to stand trial on charges of 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 those offences, as well as charges of 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 he was committed to stand trial on only three of the charges.
The matter has returned to court several times since the preliminary hearing to confirm trial dates, and it was back in Lethbridge Court of King’s Bench again Monday, but simply adjourned without dates being set.
“Defence still needs to complete the pre-booking form in order to get a trial date,” Lethbridge lawyer Marcus Mueller told the judge.
Mueller acknowledged during a hearing on Jan. 8 that the matter was “dragging” since the preliminary hearing, but assured the court he was working to schedule a trial.
“It does seem to be drifting a bit,” Justice Glen Poelman agreed at the time, then adjourned the matter for a month.
Crown Prosecutor James Rouleau pointed out Monday that the out-of-town prosecutors assigned to the case completed their portions of the booking request earlier this month, but may have sent them to Mueller’s previous law office by mistake.
“So that might account for some of the delay,” Rouleau said.
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.

Share this story:

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments