October 22, 1999 6:18 AM EDT

Bizarre court case

TORONTO — It was a bizarre and emotional scene yesterday inside a Toronto courtroom where the operator of two escort agencies is on trial.

At one point, a prostitute refused to testify and stomped out. The defence lawyer broke down in tears and said he is so distraught over the case that he plans to resign from the bar.

And the Toronto Sun was told it may be found in contempt for publishing the names of two escorts who gave evidence earlier this week.

The judge commented this trial continues to be an egregious example of the adversarial system, run amok. However, Mr. Justice Harry Keenan said he plans to keep the trial going, and he refused to allow the defence lawyer, Michael Heller, to quit the case.

Heller asked for the trial to be stopped because of the publication of the two names. One of the women refused to continue testifying yesterday unless the judge could guarantee that her name would not be used. When she walked out, the judge suggested issuing an arrest warrant for her. The matter was settled when the judge added some provisions to his publication ban details that he is not allowing us to report on.

[Toronto '99] [News by region] [News by topic]

Created: December 18, 2000
Last modified: January 31, 2001
CSIS Commercial Sex Information Service
Box 3075, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Tel: +1 (604) 488-0710
Email: csis@walnet.org