The Scales of Justice statue at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.
Jason Payne / PNG
A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for November for a man charged in last year’s Vancouver police child-sex sting that netted 47 arrests.Donald Hugh Schroeder is the third accused to plead not guilty to the charge of obtaining sexual services with a child under 18. Schroeder did not appear in person Wednesday for a court appearance in Vancouver provincial court. But his lawyer, Chandra Corriveau, requested a trial before a judge and jury, and a preliminary hearing on his behalf. The preliminary hearing, to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial, is scheduled for four days in late November.Also on Wednesday, another accused, Mario Celo Amistad, was scheduled to appear in court on the same charge, but his matter was adjourned until May 8.Schroeder was arrested for an offence that allegedly occurred on June 29, 2018, and the date of the alleged offence for Amistad was June 26, 2018.The men were among 47 arrested on nine different dates between June and November as part of an online sting in which the suspects believed they were arranging for sexual services with a girl between 15 and 17. They instead were met by a police officer when they showed up for their “date” and arrested. Vancouver police recommended charges, backed by evidence, against at least seven of the 47 arrested. The Crown earlier this year approved charges against seven of them, including Schroeder and Amistad.Police have said investigators are still preparing the charges for approval against the remaining 40 men.Also charged with one count each of communicating for the sexual services of a child under 18 are Nikolaos Dais, 58, a retired Little Flower Academy teacher; Jim Malmros, 45; Mehran Arefi, 52; Jun Jie He, 36; and Kenneth Clement, 58, a former Vision Vancouver school trustee.Malmros and Arefi are scheduled to appear in court on April 25, and Dais next week.Clement and He have already pleaded not guilty to the charge and have trial dates set, in October for Clement and next March for He.The minimum sentence for obtaining for consideration the sexual services of a person under 18 is six months.Police announced the charges at the end of January and it has been about 10 months since the first of the stings and almost five months since the last.A police spokesman has said there have been no further charges so far because the process takes time and investigators need to be “meticulous and detail-oriented” in preparing charge recommendations to the Crown. In this province, the B.C. Prosecution Service must approve charges recommended by police, based on their likelihood of succeeding at trial, among other factors.In comparison, in 2011, the VPD recommended to the Crown charges against 60 suspected rioters who faced multiple charges (163 in total) about four months after the June 15 Stanley Cup riot. Officers investigating the riot had viewed more than 5,000 hours of video footage and tagged and identified more than 15,000 criminal acts.CLICK HERE to report a typo. Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.