OPINION: Right to a Fair Trial is not just for Canadian Citizens

posted on October 23, 2013 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Hayley Pitcher
Source: Pro Bono Students Canada / CCLA Rights Watch Blog
URL: [link]
Date: October 10, 2013

The opinions expressed here are those of the author's. They do not necessarily represent CCLA or PBSC policy. Please visit CCLA’s website, www.ccla.org, for official CCLA publications and policies.

Today, the SCC hears an important case regarding the constitutional rights of immigrants in Canada. Mohamed Harkat will challenge the constitutionality of security certificates. Harkat is an Algerian who came to Canada in 1997. He has been subject to a security certificate since 2002. He was detained until 2006 and has since been under strict bail conditions. While his conditions have relaxed over time, they have included: a GPS monitoring device, curfew, surveillance cameras at the front of his house, interception of mail and phone calls, and no internet access.

Security certificates allow the Canadian government, on the basis of secret evidence, to deport non-citizens who are deemed a security threat to Canada. The regime also allows for detention – with no statutory limitations on the length – so long as the detention is reasonable. Because it is not a criminal proceeding, the standard of proof is much lower than beyond a reasonable doubt. The standard applied is whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the named person is a security threat.


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