This week at the SCC

This week, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear six appeals, including a slew of Charter challenges related to Tamil refugee applicants who arrived aboard the MV Sun Sea in August 2010.

Feb. 16-17 – Federal – Hernandez v. Canada and B306 v. Canada and J.P. v. Canada and B010 v. Canada

Charter of Rights: These four cases involve claimants who were denied refugee status in Canada because they were in some way involved in a people-smuggling operation. The appellants have each argued that they took no part in a people-smuggling business, but rather that their involvement was compelled by the circumstances in which they found themselves. Hernandez, who had escaped Cuba for the United States, used a boat in order to pick up family members still in his native country. The other three cases involve Tamil nationals who fled the war in Sri Lanka. They arrived in Canada aboard the MV Sun Sea and claimed that the crew had abandoned ship, leaving certain duties to them. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Board determined that all were inadmissible because of their organizational involvement in the people-smuggling operation. The claimants argue that they acted by necessity and under duress. The SCC will review whether the board erred in refusing refugee status.

Read the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision

Related news stories:
Tamil Sun Sea refugees’ appeal reaches Supreme Court, CBC
Supreme Court of Canada to hear appeals in human smuggling cases,
Human smuggling cses set for top court hearings, CTV News

Feb. 17 – British Columbia – Appulonappa v. R.

Charter of Rights: This appeal will be heard along with the above refugee cases, although the appellants have been charged criminally and the appeal emanates from the British Columbia Court of Appeal. The appellants here helped to organize the voyage of 76 Tamil migrants aboard the MV Sun Sea, who all applied for refugee status. The appellants were charged for people-smuggling under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. They argue that the provisions are overbroad and conflict with Charter rights. They initially won at the Supreme Court of British Columbia, but saw the judgment reversed on appeal.

Read the British Columbia Court of Appeal’s decision

Related news story:
Decision by B.C. Supreme Court delays two trials for men accused of ferrying Tamil migrants to Canada, Toronto Star

Feb. 19 – Manitoba – Perrone v. R.

Criminal: Cladinoro Perrone appealed his sexual assault conviction and 32-month sentence on the grounds that his accuser was intoxicated at the time of the incident and subsequently changed her story. The appeal court upheld the verdict and sentence, with two judges concurring. One judge, however, would have overturned the verdict and ordered a new trial. The SCC will review whether the credibility of the accuser was in question.

Read the Manitoba Court of Appeal’s decision

Related news story:
Dangerous offender’s appeal unsuccessful, Winnipeg Free Press

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