Friday, August 12, 2011


Canada The lesson: get good legal advice before interacting with the justice system. This case seems to put an end to the arguments often advanced by convicted criminals that they were not aware of the immigration consequences of their guilty plea or their sentence.

Supreme Court of Canada will not hear deportation case

By Jordan Press, Postmedia News

August 11, 2011

OTTAWA — Canada's top court won't weigh in on a case that would have required it to review the fact that immigrants convicted of some crimes lose their right to appeal a deportation order.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada announced that a man twice convicted of carrying concealed weapons in public — a machete and a loaded handgun — has lost his last chance to avoid being deported back to Haiti.

The court turned down Jean-Zacarie Belance's request for leave to appeal his conviction that included a potential deportation order.

In rejecting the request, the court effectively decided not to review a section of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that removes an immigrant's right to appeal a deportation order if they are convicted of crime with a minimum two-year prison sentence.

Belance is a permanent resident who immigrated to Canada from Haiti.

He pleaded guilty two years ago to carrying a concealed weapon on a public bus in Gatineau, Que., near Ottawa. The .38-calibre handgun was loaded and stuffed into Belance's pants when he was seen carrying it in 2008.

The guilty plea carried with it a two-year sentence.

Belance appealed his original conviction and asked the appeals court to reduce his sentence so that he could appeal his removal order.

He argued that he was given bad information about his guilty plea and hadn't learned about the consequences of the sentence until later when he changed lawyers.

The Quebec appeals court rejected his appeal. He appealed the conviction to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court does not normally provide reasons for granting or denying a request for a hearing before the court.

Belance had previously been sentenced to 45 days in prison for carrying a machete through the streets of Ottawa.

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