Thursday, August 18, 2011


Here is another case of the IRB ordering the release of a very serious career criminal. These cases seem to be occurring quite regularly now (see my post of yesterday). I cannot possibly understand why any adjudicator could even remotely consider the release of a very serious convicted serial criminal who is already under a deportation order. Did this adjudicator think this person would show up for deportation if released? And why did it take so long for CBSA to deal with this person? Where is their duty to protect the public being discharged? They let him remain free to commit more offences, as it is clear from the sequence of events below. And why are the courts dealing so softly with a serious, repeat dangerous foreign offender giving him light sentences, when some people who commit minor offences are being treated harshly? At the same time, adjudicators regularly order those charged with less serious, single offences into custody. This system is ridiculous and immediate action is required to prevent it from collapsing.  When are Canadians going to demand that we correct this nonsensical system?

Court blocks IRB ruling to release criminal

Court blocks IRB ruling to release criminal

Adrian Humphreys, National Post · Aug. 18, 2011 Last Updated: Aug. 18, 2011 3:01 AM ET

Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board ordered a career criminal released from custody despite his being deemed "an undue risk to society," a decision the Federal Court of Canada has denounced as unreasonable and dangerous.

The government sought emergency intervention by the court after IRB adjudicator Otto Nupponen ordered Mohamed Sako freed from immigration custody pending deportation to his native Guinea.

The case is the latest in a series of controversial rulings by Mr. Nupponen, who was overturned last year after releasing one of the Tamil migrants who was smuggled aboard the Ocean Lady.

Ian Demers, the Department of Justice lawyer who argued the government's case against Sako, said he immediately sought a stay of Mr. Nupponen's decision on behalf of the government. "We were of different views," Mr. Demers told the National Post.

In his ruling, Judge Michel Shore ordered Sako to remain in custody until an appeal is heard.

"Mr. Sako poses a danger to the public," Judge Shore found. "The ID [Immigration Division of the IRB] nevertheless ordered his release on conditions so minimal that they do not make it possible to keep the danger posed by Mr. Sako at an acceptable level."

Sako, 34, came to Canada in 1999 from the West African nation and lives in Montreal when not in jail. He has a criminal record dating back to 2001 with his first conviction for credit-card theft.

In January 2008, he was convicted for fraud, conspiracy and two counts of credit card theft. Soon after release, he was again convicted of two counts of credit-card theft, fraud, assault with a weapon and uttering threats.

Five months later he was convicted of procuring, one of the most serious of Canada's prostitution-related laws, for which he was sentenced to a year in jail. This February, he was convicted of credit card theft, failing to comply with a court order, possession of property obtained by crime, assault, obstruction of justice, assault causing bodily harm and mischief.

Two of his assault victims were former girlfriends.

In 2008, the Quebec parole board found Sako posed "an undue risk to society," saying he did not take responsibility for his crimes, refused to participate in treatment programs and "had adopted a disorganized lifestyle characterized by associating with criminals and using drugs."

Upon his release from jail, Canada Border Services Agency placed him in custody pending removal as a noncitizen involved in serious crime. Monthly detention reviews are required for such cases.

In May, Mr. Nupponen heard evidence of Sako's criminal record, the report from the parole board and details of his crimes and victims.

"Still, on May 16, 2011, the ID ordered his release on conditions that, on their face, do not eliminate the significant danger he represents," said Judge Shore in his ruling.

The conditions included reporting to the CBSA once a week and to "not engage in activities that give rise to a conviction," but even Mr. Nupponen did not appear to hold out great hope as Sako was also ordered to "inform a CBSA officer of each conviction and charge."

Judge Shore said the precautions did not mitigate the danger.

His decision was released in English on Tuesday but writ-ten in May. Since the Federal Court decision, Sako has had another detention review by a different IRB adjudicator, Dianne Tordorf, who deemed Sako a flight risk and a danger.

He remains in custody pending his next review in September, said Stéphane Malépart, a spokesman for CBSA.

Robert Gervais, spokesman for the IRB, said he had no comment on the Federal Court's overturning of Mr. Nupponen's decision. Mr. Gervais said Mr. Nupponen was not available for an interview and declined to elaborate on the adjudicator's career history.

Mr. Nupponen became a board member at the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board in November 1999 and began hearing cases in Vancouver, where he remained until his transfer to Toronto on June 1, 2010. On May 2, he was transferred to Montreal.

Last year the Federal Court overturned his decision to release one of the 76 Tamil migrants who arrived off the West Coast aboard the Ocean Lady before the government could finish investigating any links to the Tamil Tigers.

The court said the IRB "effectively usurped" the government's role of probing security threats and rebuked his decision for putting the rights of a foreign national being investigated for possible links to a terrorist group above the protection of Canadians.

In 2009, Mr. Nupponen released a Norwegian man, who brought child pornography into Canada when arriving in Winnipeg to meet a 17-yearold girl he met through the Internet, for five days of freedom prior to deportation. Child exploitation activists blasted the decision as something from "the Dark Ages."

And in 2008, many were outraged after Mr. Nupponen released a man from El Salvador to live with his sister in Surrey, B.C., after he admitted killing at least four people, throwing grenades into crowds and watching the beheading of a woman by a member of his gang, the MS-13.

How hard Sako will fight to remain in Canada is not known. His lawyer, Julie Déziel, is no longer in Canada and could not be reached.

Sako has already seen the generosity of Canada's judicial system. Despite his repeated convictions while on probation, his escalation into violence and his failure to comply with court orders, his sentences remained modest: 15 days for assault with a weapon; 30 days for his third conviction for credit-card theft and three months for his latest assault causing bodily harm.

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