Owners of Toronto Instagram accounts face witness intimidation charges

Owners of thehood6ix, thewarinda6ix, straightouttathe6ixtv and keep6ixsolid broadcast images, audio of witness during livestreamed hearing

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Four people are facing charges after a Toronto Police investigation into allegations of witness tampering undertaken by high-profile social media accounts.

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The investigation, entitled “Project VWAP,” began after two Instagram accounts — thehood6ix and thewarinda6ix — posted images of a witness testifying during a preliminary hearing on Feb 23.

The next day, the same two accounts — joined by straightouttathe6ixtv and keep6ixsolid — posted an audio recording of the same witness.

Both the images and the audio were taken from court proceedings livestreamed via Zoom, which during the COVID-19 pandemic became the go-to media to conduct court proceedings in Ontario.

“These actions served to obstruct the course of justice and intimidate a justice system participant,” read a Toronto Police press release.

Posting images and video from the proceedings — already against the law — also violated a publication ban imposed on the hearing by Justice David Porter, under Sec. 539 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada.

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Earlier this month, police executed a number of search warrants in Toronto and Brampton.

Kyle Stephens, 20, and Ryan Taylor, 32, both of Brampton, and Toronto men Mohamed Abdalla, 24, and Afrah Mohamed, 30 face charges of witness intimidation, obstruction of justice and violating a Sec. 539(1) order.

Mohamed also faces weapons charges after police discovered a firearm with high-capacity magazine during their search.

The accused are scheduled to next appear in court in December.

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straightouttathe6ixtv and keep6ixsolid are both significant players in Toronto’s music and culture Instagram scene, attracting 273,000 and 117,000 followers respectively.

keep6ixsolid and thehood6ix were both locked on Monday, while the other two remain online.

bpassifiume@postmedia.com
On Twitter:  @bryanpassifiume

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