The convictions related to pimping against two men from Calgary, who worked as drivers for sex-trade workers, have been reinstated by Alberta’s highest court.
After a trial, Mikhail Kloubakov and Hicham Moustaine were initially convicted of profiting from the earnings of prostitution and participating in the recruitment of women into the sex industry.
However, once the two men were found guilty, their lawyers Kim Arial and Shannon Gunn Emery were able to successfully argue against the constitutionality of the two sections of the criminal code.
Afterwards, the case was brought by the Crown to the Alberta Court of Appeal.
The highest court in the province reviewed the legal challenge to the significant ruling made by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2013. This ruling invalidated the laws related to prostitution in the country and introduced new regulations that criminalize individuals who contribute to the demand for prostitution.
Kloubakov and Moustaine faced legal charges based on recently implemented legislation.
The Calgary police have pressed charges against five individuals.
In February 2020, the Calgary police disclosed accusations against five individuals, among whom Vincent-Olivier Marcheterre and Antoni Proietti were later found guilty of engaging in human trafficking.
Marcheterre and Proietti ran the escort business which started in Quebec.
According to the evidence presented during the trial, the two individuals relocated certain women to Alberta in order to increase the fees they could charge for their services.
Kloubakov, Moustaine, and Sergei Dube-Cavalli were additional drivers based in Calgary for the women.
Dube-Cavalli admitted his involvement in the operation and received a 28-month prison term in June 2021.
The pair is required to appear in court again to receive their sentence.
Eidsvik initially found Kloubakov and Moustaine to be at fault, but ultimately supported the arguments put forth by the defense attorneys who raised a constitutional objection following the verdicts.
The judge halted the convictions when they discovered that the particular section of the criminal code under which the charges were made was overly broad and failed to distinguish between exploitative and non-exploitative activities.
Eidsvik discovered that the provision still makes it illegal for third parties to offer security services to sex workers in situations that are not exploitative.
However, the court of appeal recently came to a different conclusion, stating that the code only applies to individuals involved in exploitative actions. The court found that the trial judge had misunderstood the intent and impact of these provisions.
Kloubakov and Moustaine are now required to go back to the King’s Bench Court in order to receive their sentencing.