Trafficking case ends in drug, gun conviction

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The case started as a wide-ranging probe into a suspected human trafficking ring.

But on Monday, former carpet cleaning franchise owner Sean Leadston, 43, pleaded guilty to only two charges, neither suggesting any procurement of teenage girls.

Leadston pleaded guilty to possessing a stun gun without a licence and trafficking in crystal meth in a London courtroom and was sentenced to 90 days to be served on weekends, before the Crown withdrew the rest of his charges.

Assistant Crown attorney Heather Palin told Superior Court Justice Lynne Leitch, “some complainants in this matter can no longer be located.”

Also looming were the timelines for completing cases as outlined in the Supreme Court of Canada’s Jordan decision, which puts a 30-month limit on Superior Court proceedings.

London police said in 2015 that their investigation focused on a van ferrying of teenagers to area motels to make money as sex workers.

What Leadston pleaded guilty to did relate to his work in 2014 and 2015 as the owner of Heaven’s Best Carpet Cleaning.

In an agreed statement of facts read to the court by Palin, Leitch learned that Leadston drove a van in London with the company name on the side of it.

Letich heard that a male witness saw Leadston trafficking in drugs many times and in possession of the stun gun.

Another witness, a 16-year-old female also saw dime bags of meth and knew Leadston was trafficking in drugs.

Leadston was under police surveillance and was seen many times leaving and arriving at various London hotels for brief visits.

In January 2015, he was arrested outside an east London hotel where police found three small dime bags of drugs in his vest pocket along with some cash. The gun, a small weigh scale and empty drug capsules were located in the van.

His defence lawyer, Larissa Fedak told Leich that Leadston was addicted to crystal meth but since his arrest has sworn off all drugs.

He grew up in Kitchener-Waterloo where his mother worked as a probation and parole officer, while his late father was a police officer who later became a city councillor and MPP. They divorced when Leadston was a teenager.

Leadston had been a successful minor hockey player, an athletic pursuit that his father championed, but his career ended because of a back injury, Fedak said.

The injury broke down the relationship he had with his father and his death made Leadston “an emotional wreck.” He and his wife separated.

While trying to establish the carpet cleaning business, he was introduced to crystal meth by an old hockey buddy, she said.

After his arrest, his name was publicized and he was placed in custody for 85 days. His wife, who took on three jobs to keep them financially afloat, stepped up as a bail surety and he has been under the equivalent of a house arrest sentence for two years.

He hasn’t breached strict bail conditions, Fedek said.

“He’s been very humbled by these charges. . . . He’s ashamed of himself,” Fedak said.

She suggested a sentence of time served while Palin asked for four more months of custody. Both suggested a maximum probation period of three years.

Leitch said she took into account Leadston’s efforts at rehabilitation and ending his drug addiction.  

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