Friday, June 3, 2011


Here is another instance of a sentence reduction to allow for an appeal to the IAD. While the circumstances of this case are hardly unusual, the question is whether this constitutes good policy and equality under the law. Should a landed immigrant get a shorter sentence than a Canadian citizen? Or should the intent of the immigration legislation  be respected? Did not Parliament intend to remove from society those who have been sentenced to two years or more? This is a difficult policy question that politicians do not want to tackle.
Sentence reduced to allow deportation appeal                
Kevin Martin, Calgary Sun
First posted:

Alberta’s top court has knocked a day off the sentence of a convicted robber to preserve his right to appeal his deportation.
In a written decision released Thursday, a three-member Alberta Court of Appeal panel said changing the sentence of Harinder Singh Duhra would not alter the intent of his plea bargain with the Crown.
The judges said while they would normally not give a landed immigrant a break not afforded Canadian citizens, Duhra’s case was different.
They said the effective two-year sentence Duhra’s lawyer and the Crown agreed to didn’t include consideration of the immigration implications facing the offender.
Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, a non-citizen who commits an act of serious criminality is deemed to be inadmissible in Canada and, if sentenced to two years or more, is barred from going before the Immigration Appeal Division.
Alberta’s top court said while other provincial courts of appeal have lowered sentences to preserve that right, it normally wouldn’t do so.
“With all due respect to a few appeal panels in Canada which may have reached somewhat different results in a few cases, we are not persuaded that citizenship should be a disadvantage for sentencing purposes,” the judges said.
“We recognize the illogic of reducing a sentence ... to a lower (term) than a citizen might receive reasonably for the same crime in order to assist an offender guilty of serious criminality.”
But in Duhra’s case, an effective sentence of two years less a day would not alter the intent of the deal his lawyer made with the Crown, the appeal judges said.
Duhra, 43, who emigrated to Canada from India in 1992, pleaded guilty to robbery in the middle of his trial after spending 11 months in remand.
Since he was eligible for two-for-one credit, Crown and defence agreed an additional two months on top of the equivalent of 22 months he’d already served, plus 18 months probation, would be adequate punishment.
A drunken Duhra, armed with a knife, entered a dry cleaning store on Nov. 4, 2009 and after brandishing the weapon escaped with $80.
Despite the ruling, Duhra could still be deported.

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