Thursday, April 3, 1997

Neal Hall
Sun Court Reporter

p. B8.

Three pimps convicted on long list of charges

A 13-year-old former runaway testified that she was enlisted to work as a prostitute.

A former Vancouver police vice squad member hailed as a victory Wednesday the conviction of three young pimps in their 20s who were found guilty of almost two dozen charges involved two young girls recruited to work as prostitutes.

"I think what this case shows is that when victims are ready to come forward, the system works," Sergeant Gord Elias said. "These girls came to police for help," he added after a jury returned its guilty verdict Wednesday after beginning deliberations Tuesday.

Convicted of procuring and sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl were Ruby Ann Fortney and her boyfriend Jaswinder Singh Mahal, who are both in their mid 20s. They were also convicted of living off the avails of prostitution and keeping a common bawdy house at their Surrey home at 7128 142A Street.

Government workers came to court Wednesday and apprehended the couple's 22-month-old child.

The couple has been denied bail until sentencing May 6.

A 13-year-old former runaway testified at a five-week trial that she was picked up on a Vancouver street at 3 a.m. and was taken to the couple's hom where she was enlisted to work as a prostitute.

The girl recalled she had sex with customers who called an escort service listed in the Buy & Sell paper.

The convicted couple has lengthy criminal records for theft and fraud, police said.

Co-accused Christopher Michael Carroll was also convicted of procuring and living off the avails of prostitution.

He was released on bail until his May 6 sentencing.

During his opening address to the jury, prosecutor Geordie Proulx said Carroll ran an escort service similar to that run by the Surrey couple and all three pimps knew each other.

Elias, who now works as as supervisor in the Vancouver jail, said the case involved nine alleged pimps, including a number of juveniles.

"At the time, it was the largest vice bust in B.C. history," he said. "The three adults convicted were the most serious of the charges."

One juvenile has been acquitted and another juvenile and adult are still facing trial, Elias said.

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Created: April 21, 1997
Last modified: July 2, 1997

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