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Emanuel Taitt pleads guilty to human trafficking, but walks free for time served

Taitt sentenced to four years, but having spent more than two year in jail with a 2-for-1 credit means he is being released today

A Toronto-area man facing numerous human trafficking charges in Greater Sudbury was sentenced to four years in jail after he pleaded guilty to two of those charges.

Emanuel Taitt, 36, pleaded guilty to charges of trafficking in persons — exploitation and assault. However, given pre-sentence credit of almost 1,200 days, as well as 336 days of credit for wearing a GPS tracking device for two years, Taitt was a free man on Friday, having spent more than two years in jail already.

Ontario Court of Justice Robbie Gordon presided over the matter Friday morning and “reluctantly” agreed to a joint submission by the Crown’s office and Taitt’s defence lawyer, Fariborz Davoudi.

“You’re on thin, thin ice,” Gordon told Taitt. “With a record like yours, if you come back before the court in any sort of context relating to these sorts of charges, you will not be seeing the light of day for many, many years. Good luck to you, and I hope not to see you again.”

Taitt had 562 days of pre-sentence custody, and the joint submission asked the court to approve a two-for-one credit.

Gordon allowed it, giving Taitt a total of 1,124 days credit.

The joint submission also asked Gordon to take into consideration the fact Taitt was equipped with an ankle-monitoring bracelet for two years before he was arrested for breaching his probation conditions.

Gordon allowed that, as well.

Assistant Crown attorney Stephanie Baker said many factors were taken into consideration for the joint submission.

She said having the matter resolved in this fashion is beneficial to the complainant, as she did not want to come back to Sudbury to testify.

“She has put this behind her,” said Baker.

Davoudi said had Taitt elected to proceed to trial, it would not have been an “open-and-shut” case for the Crown, as there are “serious credibility issues with the complainant.”

“Mr. Taitt was aware of those issues, yet he gave me instructions to proceed with this guilty plea,” Davoudi said, in his submissions.

Baker disagreed.

“Human trafficking is a more difficult count to prove, so his plea of guilt today does go a long way. However, this isn’t a situation where the Crown didn’t feel it had a strong case,” Baker said. “It’s more a situation regarding the circumstances, the delay of these proceedings, the fact he has been in custody for such a long period of time, the fact we don’t know when jury trials are going to continue, and the fact the complainant has moved forward in her life in a much more positive direction.”

The GPS monitor was a “very strict curtailment of his liberty,” Baker said, and it’s only for that reason the Crown is in agreement Taitt should be given credit like a jail sentence.

“We ask you to find only in this particular circumstance in this particular case, that is being put forward as a joint statement and where we have a complainant who is very fearful, has been traumatized and doesn’t want o go through that trauma again in a trial at some unknown time in the future that we are recommending this resolution and agreeing with the enhanced credit.

“This should not be taken going forward that this is the typical position of the Crown’s office in Sudbury.”

Taitt has every intention of changing his ways and becoming a productive member of society, said Davoudi.

“His record doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, but I can indicate the time he has been in custody, he has reconsidered his priorities in life, and he’s in a steady, stable relationship, a bright light in his life, with a partner who loves him very much and will keep a tight rein on him.”

Taitt has been involved with the legal system since he was a youth. 

His record includes a conviction in 2013 for kidnapping with a firearm, in 2010 for being in possession of a restricted firearm, in 2008 for assault causing bodily harm, in 2005 for uttering a threat, in 2004 for obstructing a peace officer, and two more, including one when he was a youth.

Taitt was twice the subject of a Wanted Wednesday by Sudbury Rainbow Crime Stoppers for failing to comply with court-ordered conditions.

Taitt told the court he looks forward to moving on with his life. 

“This has been a long process for me,” he said. “I was in a good place at one time, and I feel like I’ve grown a lot since this incident. I apologize for my actions.”

Taitt was arrested April 3, 2017 by Greater Sudbury Police Service. There were two other co-accused in the investigation.

Court heard that over a four-day period, from March 26-19, the complainant was being held against her will and forced to do sex work. She was forced to take drugs to stay awake, and had sexual intercourse with between 20-30 unknown men over the four days.

Taitt was one of three people overseeing the sex trafficking, and the complainant was one of three women performing sexual acts for money.

The complainant was forced to give Taitt all of the money she made, and her medications and phone were controlled.

On March 29, the complainant managed to flee the hotel room where she was being held and made her way to the front desk, where police were called.

The other two other people charged in the human trafficking case pleaded guilty in May last year to assault and material benefit from trafficking in a person.

As per the joint submission, all other charges against Taitt have been withdrawn.

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Arron Pickard

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