Judge Joëlle Roy was very harsh towards a victim on Monday in a trial for pimping a minor. The judge cavalierly reproached the young woman for answering “anything” during cross-examination.

“That’s my pimp. He’s the one who sells me,” summed up Danika* on Monday at the trial of Mohamed Louchahi, alias “Mehdi”. Now aged 22, Danika was 16 when she began prostituting herself for the benefit of the accused. She studied during the day, did her homework at night and became an escort at night.

The 35-year-old man is charged with pimping a minor and producing and distributing child pornography. He is also accused of human trafficking against an 18-year-old woman. His trial opened last week at the Montreal courthouse.

After testifying with confidence on Monday morning, Danika engaged in a quite usual cross-examination. At the end of the day, the judge suddenly had enough of the complainant’s uncertain answers.

“It’s not your place to be tired. I understand that this annoys you, but you have to respond. Don’t respond casually,” Judge Roy dryly told the young woman.

Me Sharon Sandiford then continued her very specific questions about a discussion between the accused and the complainant. However, she did not remember the fine details of the conversation. For no apparent reason, Judge Roy then interrupted the witness.

“I’m going to ask you to stop that. You’ve been answering nonsense for 10-15 minutes. You answer for the sake of answering,” the judge reproached him.

Danika was a studious and responsible student in 2019. But her relationship with her violent ex-partner had left its mark.

“My head was detached from my body. As long as you’re not going to make me respect for free, you might as well make me disrespect and make money,” she says.

Danika met Mohamed Louchahi in April 2019 through Amélie* (the other complainant). The teenager wants to become an escort to earn money. According to his account, the accused takes charge. He asks her for racy photos and places ads online. He then takes care of finding clients.

For two weeks in spring 2019, Danika did 5 or 6 “clients.” Mehdi is waiting for him in a car. She then gives him his “share” of $100. Generally, Danika offers her services at the same time as Amélie.

The ads made it appear that Danika was 18 years old. However, the accused knew from the start that she was 16 years old, according to her. “It’s not legal. He was very knowledgeable. It was clear that I should not mention that I was a minor,” she testifies. She also had to learn Amélie’s life by heart in case she was arrested.

Testifying in another room of the courthouse, Amélie* recounts having been arrested by the police. However, she struggles to find the right term to define her arrest. Sitting next to his lawyer, Mohamed Louchahi then begins to laugh.

“He started laughing,” protests Crown prosecutor Me Véronique Warthold.

Unmoved, Judge Roy does not lecture the accused and asks Amélie to continue her testimony.

Amélie* was 18 years old at the time of the events. According to the Crown’s theory, she would have remained in the clutches of the accused for several months.

The young woman was initially accused of pimping Danika, but the charges were dropped by the public prosecutor. She didn’t even know the term “pimping” at the time, she candidly confided.

“He’s my friend and we worked together. I didn’t think it was bad! “, she testified last Wednesday. “She was not a recruiter,” Danika argued at trial.

In the spring of 2019, Amélie was visiting “clients” with 16-year-old Danika. It was Mohamed Louchahi who found the “clients” for them and set the price. She also gave part of the amount to the pimp, she explains.

Amélie was afraid to denounce “Mehdi” since once, he had violently hit the steering wheel of her vehicle. “If he hit a steering wheel, he could hit me too,” she said.

“He forced me to take on clients,” she says. However, she clarifies her thoughts: it was in fact her own decision to prostitute herself, but the accused kept questioning her when she no longer wanted to do it.

When Danika was arrested, Mohamed Louchahi told Amélie not to talk to the authorities. “I had to protect him more than myself,” she said.

The trial continues Tuesday.