Muhammad Abbas Jaffer v. His Majesty The King
(Ontario) (Criminal) (By Leave)
Criminal law - Abuse of process - Criminal law — Abuse of process — Entrapment — Opportunity-based entrapment — Inducement-based entrapment — Luring — Whether, in light of R. v. Ahmad, 2020 SCC 11, Project Raphael was a bona fide police inquiry — What is the proper analysis to be applied in determining whether a virtual space is sufficiently precisely and narrowly defined to meet the standard of a bona fide inquiry? — Whether on a correct interpretation of the reasonable suspicion standard, involving consideration of both the virtual space and the information obtained from the chat, the appellant was entrapped — When, if ever, can individual vulnerabilities or relevant facts, unknown to the police at the time of the operation, support a finding that the accused was entrapped?.
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A jury found the appellant, Muhammad Abbas Jaffer, guilty of the two counts he was charged with that went to trial: (1) child luring under 18 (s. 172.1(2) of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46), and communicating to obtain for consideration the sexual services of a person under 18 (s. 212(4) (now s. 286.1(2))). The charges arose out of Project Raphael designed by the York Regional Police — an undercover investigation that began in 2014 with the objective of reducing the demand for sexual services from juveniles in the region by targeting the “buyer side”. As part of the investigation, the police posted fake advertisements in the “escorts” section of the online classified advertising website Backpage.com. When individuals responded to the ads, an undercover officer posing as an escort would disclose in the ensuing text chat that “she” was underage. Individuals who continued the chat and arranged sexual services and a price were directed to a hotel room to complete the transaction and were arrested and charged on their arrival.
After the appellant was found guilty, the sentencing judge stayed the conviction on what is now s. 286.1(2) pursuant to Kienapple v. The Queen,  1 S.C.R. 729. The appellant’s application for a stay of proceedings based on entrapment was dismissed. His appeal from the dismissal of the entrapment application was also unanimously dismissed.
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