A young woman who says she was one of nine alleged victims of a teen prostitution ring in Ottawa will have to wait until next week to testify as a defence lawyer's illness delayed the trial for a second day in a row.
The girl, who was 17 at the time, told the Crown she was taken to a Donald Street apartment building and forced to have sex with a "john." The Crown had relayed that information to the court earlier in the trial.
The girl was set to testify Thursday, but the court session never began as Judge Diane Lahaie recessed until Friday morning after one of three defence lawyers fell ill. She was forced to adjourn proceedings for a second day in a row.
There are seven complainants involved in the trial of three girls — two 16-year-olds and a 17-year-old — who face 74 charges including human trafficking, forcible confinement and procuring for prostitution. They were arrested in June.
2 victims not part of trial
A fourth teen girl faces similar charges involving one incident, but her trial will be held at a later date.
The Crown also allege there are two victims that are not part of the trial.
Police allege the three girls used social media to befriend and lure nine girls, aged 13 to 17, to a home at a housing complex in southeast Ottawa.
None of the accused or the nine victims can be named due to provisions in the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Key evidence destroyed
On Wednesday, Det. Mike Villeneuve testified about evidence found on social media accounts believed to be operated by the accused.
In his testimony, Villeneuve said it appears the accused made an effort to cover up what they were doing on their cellphones.
Villeneuve said police couldn't recover much from the cellphone of the second 16-year-old charged. The detective said her phone was wiped clean, but acknowledged the phone might never have been used.
Last week, the Crown said it had subpoenaed the girl's mother to testify that her daughter called her from jail and asked her to destroy the SIM card from the phone. Crown prosecutor Fara Rupert said that deprived the Crown of "a potentially meaningful body of evidence."
Villeneuve also said he had never seen the Instagram photo-sharing account found by CBC News that may be linked to one of the teens. It uses the same pseudonym and similar photos as Facebook and Twitter accounts the Crown has alleged belonged to one of the accused.