By Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/St. Albert Gazette
ST ALBERT – A former St. Albert cab driver who pleaded guilty to child luring had his sentencing hearing delayed this week so a psychiatric assessment and risk assessment may be presented in court and cross-examined by the Crown.
Imam Buksh, 70, who owned R5 Taxi and Courier Service, pleaded guilty to one count of child luring and was slated to have his sentencing hearing on Monday, but that has been delayed until early December.
The former taxi driver admitted in court in July he communicated with a person he believed was under the age of 16 for sexual purposes.
The Gazette received a copy of the agreed statement of facts that was presented at the Court of Queen’s Bench, which shows Crimestoppers received a tip that Buksh was giving free rides to girls and buying them food and alcohol. In late 2017, Buksh met a 15-year-old girl when she and her friends left a party and called a cab. Buksh didn’t charge them, and went on to give the teen another 10 free rides. The statement of facts noted the teen felt uncomfortable by comments Buksh made and told him she was 15.
Buksh exchanged 767 text messages with the teen, including sending some that were sexually charged, in which he wrote about wanting to touch her and kiss her. He also offered her money to go shopping.
The teen came forward to police in January 2018 to report Buksh.
The RCMP set up an undercover investigation, creating a fictitious 15-year-old girl named Char, whom Buksh exchanged 775 text messages with. He sent her explicit messages and tried to arrange an in-person meeting between April 2 and 11, 2018. Char’s messages stated she was 15.
On April 11, Buksh arranged to meet Char at a Tim Hortons to have sex. He said he would bring condoms when a message from Char stated they didn’t want to get pregnant.
When Buksh arrived at the Tim Hortons, he was arrested and his cellphone was seized.
After his arrest, Buksh said any man would be tempted if a 15-year-old girl texted him, and said he didn’t know he was talking to a 15-year-old. Buksh also admitted to the RCMP that he got carried away.
RCMP also found messages to other girls in Buksh’s phone. He was originally charged with five sex-related offences in 2018.
Buksh is currently out on bail and his new sentencing date is slated for Dec. 4 at 10 a.m.