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Dishonest witness’ testimony allowed in prostitution trial: Court 0

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

This one is of of the crown giving her address to the court while the accused, Mr. Moazami, writes in the prisoner's box. (PHOTO FELICITY DON)

This one is of of the crown giving her address to the court while the accused, Mr. Moazami, writes in the prisoner's box. (PHOTO FELICITY DON)

It is difficult to imagine a less credible witness than H.W. — Justice Catherine Bruce

An unreliable teenage witness’ statements to police are being conditionally accepted as evidence in a B.C. Supreme Court trial against an alleged pimp despite her record of lies, the judge in the case has decided.

Reza Moazami faces about three-dozen charges related to an alleged prostitution ring that ran from Feb. 2009 to Oct. 2011. The Crown alleges he pimped out 11 girls, all aged between 14 and 19.

Justice Catherine Bruce’s decision on admitting the videotaped evidence, published by the court Thursday, ruled the statements from the girl in question — identified only as H.W. — could be used only if other evidence supported her comments.

During her testimony, the judge wrote, the girl admitted to lying to police, telling “them what they wanted to hear” and also pretended to be someone else. Even while on the stand, “She blatantly lied under oath and showed no pang of conscience despite the affirmation she swore,” Bruce wrote.

“H.W. feigned a lack of memory as to whether she worked as a prostitute for Mr. Moazami and at the same time, spontaneously offered that he was the best pimp she ever had.”

However, the words she spoke to police — which the judge determined as similar to evidence given by other witnesses — were provided in a “candid, forthright manner” at the time.

“In addition, because the statements were videotaped, there is no doubt as to what was said by H.W. and the officers, and H.W.’s demeanour can be observed,” Bruce wrote.

“H.W. was also available for cross-examination by the defence at trial. All of these factors provide significant guarantees of reliability.”

Bruce said the amount of weight given to her evidence would be decided at the conclusion of trial.

 

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