A charge against the former executive director of the defunct Settlement and Integration Services Organization (SISO) has been withdrawn.
Morteza Jafarpour’s defence counsel and the Crown proposed in June to have a death threat charge dropped if he stayed out of trouble until Nov. 15. The Ontario Court justice had remarked it was an “unusual request,” but approved the agreement.
Jafarpour, who recently moved with his family to Ottawa where he is the general manager of a business, was charged with uttering a death threat to a manager at SISO. His bail conditions ordered him to not communicate with the complainant or six other managers at the organization.
The Crown’s position was the withdrawal agreement avoided a trial that would have extended into 2012, protects the complainant and addresses concerns sentencing would be mitigated because Jafarpour had no prior criminal record and spent five days in pretrial custody.
The high-profile trial was originally scheduled for two days, but assistant Crown attorney Carey Lee noted back in June the witnesses — many of whom were from different cultures — were anxious about testifying and the process would go longer than two days.
When reached Thursday, Jafarpour said he believed there wasn’t enough evidence against him for the other side to go forward. “This case has been based on lies and accusations,” he said.
Jafarpour said the allegation was based on one person who said Jafarpour had threatened her in a private meeting and “assumed” he meant to threaten seven managers.
He was arrested a year ago after an incident involving SISO employee Deborah Schwientek. It was alleged Jafarpour told her: “I’m going to kill you. Let the seven managers know: I’m going to kill anyone who hurts my family. I will kill to protect my family.”
The five days he spent in pretrial custody was already more than he would’ve been sentenced to if convicted, Jafarpour said.
“You move on in life and you have a family and all these things, but I am continuing to pursue justice because I think these people should be exposed,” Jafarpour said. “Hamilton people deserve to know the truth about the lies.”
SISO closed last January after the federal government pulled funding from the local agency.
Late last year, the RCMP said it was investigating SISO for fraud against the government.
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