A man who posed as a talent agency photographer on Instagram to lure women in Surrey and Vancouver has been sentenced to two years less one day in jail followed by three years probation after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual assault in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.
Justice Jennifer Duncan, in her Feb. 9 reasons for judgment, noted Kashif Ramzan, 42, persuaded two women – one age 18, the other age 19 – to attend auditions with him and in the course of the auditions “engaged in sexual acts” with them.
“While Mr. Ramzan asked both of the complainants about their comfort level with nudity and love scenes in advance of the auditions, by his plea of guilty he has admitted that he neither had their consent nor had an honest but mistaken belief in their communicated consent to engage in the sexual acts that took place with them,” Duncan said.
“Mr. Ramzan set up an elaborate framework of online deceit from which he engaged in a pattern of predatory conduct against young women. His two victims were still in their teens while he was a university educated man twenty years older than them.”
The victims’ identities are shielded by a publication ban.
The court heard Ramzan’s crimes happened from Sept. 14 to Sept. 19, 2019, at or near Surrey and Vancouver and on April 25, 2020 in Surrey. The Crown sought a sentence of two years less a day followed by three years of probation while Ramzan’s defence sought a sentence of six months less a day in jail blended with a two-year conditional sentence.
“Mr. Ramzan is a permanent resident of Canada who will lose his right to appeal deportation if he receives a jail sentence of six months or longer,” Duncan noted.
The judge noted Ramzan is not a casting director, talent agent, modelling agent, promoter or professional photographer and “has no association” to legitimate modelling or talent agencies. She said he acquired two Instagram accounts – Globaltalentmgt and Nextop Global – and used them to communicate with his victims. The Instagram accounts contained appropriated images of models and Ramzan used the accounts to convince the women “to unknowingly participate” in bogus modelling and acting auditions.
Going by the alias “Reez Javier,” he also created a website – reezphotography.com – along with an email account - firstname.lastname@example.org - to convince his victims he was legit.
The court heard he put a collar on one victim and handcuffed her wrists behind her back. “He attached the collar to the cuffs with a chain and placed her face down on the bed in the bedroom,” Duncan noted. “A twelve minute video recording was made of what occurred in the bedroom.”
The court also heard that in late September 2019, Ramzan applied his Instagram ruse on a third female, who told him she was 15 and only available after school or on weekends. She went with him to a hotel in Surrey on Oct. 12, 2019. He took photos and shot video of her is various outfits and positions then said they needed “to act out an intimate scene involving kissing and cuddling,” Duncan noted. She replied she was “uncomfortable” and didn’t want to continue, he packed up his equipment and drove her home.
Ramzan came to Canada on a student work visa from Pakistan in 2015, completed a Master of Engineering degree the following year at UBC, applied for permanent residency in 2018, married in July 2019 and the couple run a coffee shop together.
Before sentencing, Ramzan underwent a psychological assessment.
“On the topic of the sexual offences, the doctor noted that Mr. Ramzan said in Pakistan, if a girl agrees to meet “we can do what we want” and if a girl agrees to meet he thought that meant they could have sex,” the judge noted in her reasons for judgment.
”Mr. Ramzan acknowledged the concept of consent is different in Canada, but also believed that Canadian women are more sexually available because of the lack of religious barrier. He thought that if a girl went into a hotel with him, that was consent.”
Other terms ordered by the court include Ramzan include having no direct or indirect contact with his victims, no electronic contact or communication with anyone under 16, to attend counselling sessions as directed by his probation officer, and not to access any computer network including the internet to Access, directly or indirectly, or maintain any personal profile on any social media sites, social networks, internet discussion forums or chat rooms.
“You must not represent yourself to anyone, by any means, that you are a modelling scout or agent, a talent agent, a photographer, a casting manager or a film director,” Duncan also told Ramzan.