Franco Yiu Kwan Orr is shown outside B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, BC. May 30, 2013.
Photograph by: Nick Procaylo , PNG

Vancouver

Franco Orr dismisses lawyer, gets reprieve

By Ted Alcuitas

The man who was convicted in a landmark case in 2013 for trafficking a caregiver from Hong Kong to Vancouver won another reprieve when he was granted another date for his sentencing to Feb. 24.

The postponement came after Orr and his lawyer had an ‘impasse’ over details of the ‘agreed upon statement’ that was supposed to be submitted to the court on January 27. The lawyer also told court he would no longer be representing Mr. Orr.

Terry LaLiberte, his second defense counsel since being charged in 2013, told court his client might revoke his guilty plea after he consults his new counsel.

In addition to the human trafficking offence, Orr was convicted on two other lesser charges under the act, including employing a foreign national without authorization. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail. Orr’s wife, Nicole Huen, was acquitted of the charges.

On appeal to the B.C. Court of Appeal, Orr won another trial but instead, opted to plead guilty to the lesser offence of employing a foreign national without authorization. The penalty for the offence is a fine of up to $50,000 or a jail term of up to two years, or both.

The human trafficking charge and the other charge, misrepresenting facts to immigration officials, will likely be stayed after the sentencing is dealt with, according to a report by The Province after Orr made the guilty plea on Oct. 14 last year.

B.C. Court of Appeal Justice Peter Willcock agreed with Orr that Yvon Dandurand, an expert called by the Crown, lacked sufficient evidence that his qualifications should have been part of the case.

“This appeal hinges upon the role played by the opinion evidence of Mr. Dandurand in the jury’s weighing of the complainant’s credibility, which was crucial to the convictions,” Willcock stated in his ruling.

Dandurand was brought in with a field of expertise in “victimology,” and commented on a lengthy hypothetical question that mirrored the nanny’s allegations and the Crown’s submissions, according to Willcock.

The nanny, a mother of three, sued Orr and Huen for alleged mistreatment but the couple declared bankruptcy, which resulted in an automatic stay of proceedings for the civil case, according to Simon Kent, the nanny’s lawyer.

The woman cannot be identified due to a publication ban.