Vancouver man convicted of illegally employing Filipina nanny

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  • Franco Orr was handed a three-month conditional sentence on October 12, 2016 by a Vancouver court after he was convicted of illegally employing a foreign national.

     

    The B.C. man was found guilty for wrongfully employing a Filipina nanny, identified only as L.S. due to a court publication ban.

     

    A judge ruled that Orr deprived the woman of basic employment rights.

     

    Orr, 53, was found guilty in September this year of employing a foreign national without authorization.

     

    At his sentencing on October 12, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Duncan said Orr benefited from the nanny’s “cheap labour”.

     

    The sentence includes 25 hours of community service and nine months probation. Orr is also prohibited from leaving B.C. or contacting his former nanny.

     

    Orr had no comment outside court.

     

    The case revolved around a woman, identified as L.S., who was brought to Canada from Hong Kong in 2008 on a temporary visa to look after Orr’s three children.

     

    The woman said she was forced to work long hours for low pay.

     

    In 2010, the Filipina nanny called police and Orr and his wife were charged with human trafficking. He was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to 18 months in jail. The guilty verdict was a first for Canada.

    But Orr successfully appealed and a new trial was ordered.

     

    His wife, Nicole Huen, was acquitted of the charges.

     

    In September this year, Orr was found not guilty of human trafficking but convicted of illegally employing a foreign national.

     

    The prosecution asked for a six-month conditional sentence and wanted Orr to pay roughly $37,000 in restitution.

     

    The defence sought a conditional discharge.

     

    In sentencing Orr, Duncan took into consideration the financial and personal toll the case has caused.

     

    Orr, who moved to Canada from Hong Kong as a teenager, once produced concerts for casinos, the judge noted.

     

    He’s since declared bankruptcy, lost his job at a liquor store and now works as a security guard.

     

    Orr’s children were taunted at school by children who said the family kept slaves at home.

     

    Duncan argued that Orr benefited from the nanny’s “cheap labour”.

     

    The judge rejected his argument that he helped the nanny by providing her with food and accommodation.

     

    Under the conditions of his sentence, Orr must remain in B.C., and have no contact with the former nanny, who remains in Canada.

     

    Duncan rejected the financial restitution request, saying she did not find the nanny to be a reliable witness.

     

    Duncan said she could not rely on the woman’s testimony without corroboration, citing inconsistencies in her accounts of her journey to Canada and her time spent in B.C.

     

    Duncan said the Filipina nanny “went to extremes to deny anything good happened to her in Canada”.

     

    In imposing sentence on October 12, the judge said Orr, who appeared otherwise to be a person of good character, was responsible to ensure L.S. was authorized to work in Canada, but continued to employ her after the visa had expired.

     

    Duncan said she couldn’t accept Orr’s position that he had passively allowed L.S. to remain in Canada and that L.S. was not a true victim. She said while Orr accepted responsibility for the offence he had tried to portray himself as someone who had provided shelter and money to L.S. rather than someone who exploited her.

     

    “He is not the victim,” said the judge.

     

    Karin Blok, a lawyer for Orr, argued that a more appropriate sentence was a conditional or an absolute discharge. She said Orr and his wife had lost jobs as a result of the case and Orr had been forced into bankruptcy.

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