Andre Gray sentenced to time served in human trafficking case
'He was charged with far more significant charges than what he had pled guilty to,' says lawyer Pat MacEwan
A man who pleaded guilty to charges connected to a high-profile human trafficking case has been released from jail after spending 22 months behind bars.
Andre Jerome Gray, 20, was charged with another man for an incident in April 2014. The pair were accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old girl, holding her against her will and threatening to force her into prostitution.
Just before the case was scheduled to go to trial in December, Gray pleaded guilty to two charges: assault and forcible confinement.
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"He was charged with far more significant charges than what he had pled guilty to," Gray's lawyer, Pat MacEwan, said outside court today.
"Mr. Gray pled guilty to what he felt he was responsible for and accepted responsibility for the offences that he did commit."
Gray was sentenced Thursday to time already served. He had been in custody since his arrest and spent 670 days in jail. With credit of time-and-a-half for every day, that works out to 33 months, which MacEwan said is more than others convicted of similar crimes have served.
Kiss turns violent
While he pleaded guilty in December, Gray's sentencing was delayed because his co-accused, Doreze Beals, opted to fight the charges in a trial. That trial has not yet concluded and a verdict is expected next month.
In an agreed statement of facts read into the record Thursday morning at Gray's sentencing, court was told the 15-year-old girl came to North Preston by bus on April 9, 2014.
She'd met Gray on Facebook and considered him her boyfriend, although this was the first time they were meeting face to face.
The meeting did not go well. The court was told they kissed, but then argued and Gray kneed her hard in the stomach and drove his elbow into her back.
Court heard the kick left bruising that lasted for days. Gray also prevented her from leaving until Beals arrived and took her away.
15-year-old still trying to recover
The girl initially intended to read her victim impact statement to the court herself. But instead, the task was left to Crown prosecutor Scott Morrison as the girl did not attend court for Gray's sentencing.
In her statement, the girl said she doesn't feel safe at home, in the community or around men.
She said she has nightmares and anxiety and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. She's had trouble completing school and has difficulty in crowds.
"This whole experience, this violence, has had an enormous impact on her life," Morrison said. "And I think she's trying to build her life back in a more positive direction."
Gray's actions 'cowardly' - judge
Morrison said the resolution negotiated between Crown and defence "hands down a significant sentence for Mr. Gray on the conduct that he could agree to." In exchange, the Crown withdrew charges of human trafficking and kidnapping a person under the age of 16.
Justice Josh Arnold described Gray's actions as "cowardly." He noted Gray was raised by two women, an aunt and a grandmother.
"It baffles me that you would be so violent and disrespectful to a member of the community," Arnold said.
In addition to his time in jail, Gray is banned from using or possessing weapons for 10 years and his DNA will be added to a national data bank.