Photo-sharing account may be linked to teen pimp trial
CBC News has learned of the existence of two social media accounts that may be linked to one of three teenage girls accused of running a teen prostitution ring in Ottawa.
Three teen girls are on trial facing 74 charges, including human trafficking, forcible confinement and procuring for prostitution, after they were arrested in June.
A fourth teen girl faces similar charges involving one incident. Her trial will be held at a later date.
Police allege the girls used social media to befriend and lure nine girls between 13 and 17 years of age to a home at a social housing complex in southeast Ottawa.
A Facebook and Twitter account the Crown alleged belong to one of the accused — a 16-year-old teen — as well as images uploaded to those accounts were entered as evidence in court last week.
Instagram account discovered
But an Instagram account using the same pseudonym as the Facebook and Twitter accounts and including similar photos remains online. Instagram is a photo-sharing social media site that can only be fully accessed on mobile devices.
The account has 207 followers and is following 97 people. About half the people connected to the account are teenage girls, including several girls who list their age as fourteen. There are also teenage boys and adult men who follow this Instagram account.
Many of the photos posted on the Instagram account appear to feature the accused. There are also some close-up images of hands holding hand guns.
Similar, if not identical photos, were included on the Facebook and Twitter accounts entered as evidence last week. Defence lawyers have pointed out the handguns in these photographs are not real.
There is also a second Twitter account under a different nickname that has surfaced. The account has more than 200 followers and a profile photo similar to ones posted on the Instagram account.
The Twitter account was only active for four days last September but hasn't been taken down by police.
Last week in court, the Crown said the mother of the 16-year-old accused has been subpoenaed to testify. According to the Crown, the mother is expected to testify on the stand that her daughter called her from jail and allegedly told her to destroy the SIM card from her cell phone.
In court, Crown prosecutor Fara Rupert said that has deprived the Crown of "a potentially meaningful body of evidence."
Neither the four accused nor the nine victims can be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.