A Vancouver man previously accused of human trafficking has received a three-month sentence for a lesser charge.
Franco Orr was handed the conditional sentence today in a Vancouver courthouse, and included 25 hours of community service and some conditions, including a nine-month probation order.
Orr was found guilty of human trafficking in 2013 for bringing the couple’s Filipino nanny to Canada from Hong Kong illegally and allegedly forcing her to work long hours for low pay. The guilty verdict was a first for B.C.
Orr successfully appealed the verdict in 2015 and won a new trial. Although he was found not guilty of human trafficking in the later trial, and also dodged the charge of providing false information for a temporary visa for the nanny, he was ultimately found guilty of employing a foreign national without authorization.
The Crown was asking for a sentence of six months community service with minimal conditions, plus restitution of $37,000 to the nanny he had illegally employed. Orr’s lawyer countered by asking for an absolute conditional discharge with no restitution.
The sentence did not include any restitution payment for the nanny.
Orr’s wife, Nicole Huen, was originally charged along with her husband in the 2013 case, but was found not guilty of all charges.
The nanny, Leticia Sarmiento, was originally Orr and Huen’s live-in nanny for the couple’s three children when the family lived in Hong Kong. Upon immigrating to Canada, Sarmiento told the court she was forced to work 16-hour days without time off; was not allowed to attend church; and was required to do”everything for everyone.” Orr allegedly paid Sarmiento $500 a month.
Sarmiento said her working conditions in Hong Kong were “good” compared to her time in Canada.
In her ruling, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Duncan said she could not rely on Sarmiento’s testimony without corroboration, citing inconsistencies in her accounts of her journey to Canada and her time spent in B.C.
Duncan said Sarmiento “went to extremes to deny anything good happened to her in Canada.”
Orr had originally been sentenced to 18 months in prison as a result of the 2013 guilty verdict. It is unknown whether he will still face jail time in today’s sentencing. Orr has been out on bail since his appeal.
This story has been updated.