Franco Orr outside court at his 2013 trial

Photo: Arlen Redekop, Province

The man who was convicted of trafficking a Filipina caregiver has pleaded guilty to a lesser offence, The Province reports.

In 2013, Franco Yiu Kwan Orr was the first person in Canada to be convicted of human trafficking under provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

He’d brought the nanny to Canada from Hong Kong to care for his three children, but had allegedly turned her into a virtual slave in the family home.

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.

Orr appealed his convictions and in March last year, the B.C. Court of Appeal overturned them and ordered a new trial.

But rather than go to trial a second time, on Oct. 14 Orr quietly pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of employing a foreign national without authoritization.

His sentencing hearing was scheduled for Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, but the matter was adjourned to Jan. 20 to set a new date for sentencing.

The victim, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban imposed by the B.C. Court of Appeal, alleged that she was forced to work 16 hours a day, seven days a week and not allowed to attend church or communicate with people outside the Orr family.

The penalty for the offence he pleaded guilty to 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 Simon Kent, the nanny’s lawyer, 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,says The Province.