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Lawyer-pimp jailed 7 years for terrorizing prostitute

A Toronto lawyer who led a secret double life as a pimp was sentenced to seven years in prison yesterday for abducting, confining and threatening a young prostitute.

Gary Wayne Gabriel Patterson, a commercial and real-estate lawyer, terrorized and controlled the 19-year-old former nanny in an attempt to prevent her from testifying against another pimp, Rick Downey, with whom he was associated.

A jury found Mr. Patterson guilty of 10 charges including obstructing justice, kidnapping, uttering death threats and living off the avails of prostitution.

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His two accomplices in the 1997 episode, Royce Briscoe and Penny Roberts, received sentences of four years and three years, respectively, on six counts relating to prostitution, kidnapping and obstructing justice.

Mr. Justice Lou Ferrier of Ontario Superior Court praised the victim, now 21, for her bravery in persisting with charges against the trio and enduring a total of five days on the witness stand being grilled by lawyers for the defendants.

"She had the great courage to go through a lengthy and difficult legal process and to see it through to the end," Judge Ferrier said.

He said there are probably hundreds of young women in Canada living the same nightmare she did who are afraid to report "their tormenters and enslavers" or are psychologically dependent upon them.

Judge Ferrier denounced Mr. Patterson, 36, and Mr. Briscoe, 37, as "parasites" who preyed on the survival needs of an unsophisticated teenager and said that although Ms. Roberts, herself a prostitute, was somewhat under duress from Mr. Patterson she was a full participant in the young woman's ordeal.

The victim, who cannot be named under a court order, came from a small town an hour outside Toronto, where she was working as a nanny, the court heard.

She became involved with Mr. Downey, was persuaded by him to work as a street prostitute, but left and turned him in to Toronto Police after he showed her a gun.

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Police took her back to her hometown, but she returned and began work at an escort agency because the nanny job was gone.

While an escort, she met Ms. Roberts, 33, who tricked her into meeting Mr. Patterson and Mr. Briscoe, the jury heard. They forced her back into street prostitution and took her money to pay for Mr. Downey's defence, then shipped her to an Oshawa strip club.

She gave the slip to her overseers and fled the club.

The woman was the third to allege she had been kidnapped, threatened and abused by Mr. Patterson in the past decade, a period when he was completing his law studies and beginning his practice as a commercial lawyer.

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