Violent sex felon avoiding deportation
Removal to Poland requires his approval
Published: Monday, February 11, 2008
A violent Polish sex offender deemed too dangerous to stay in Canada has avoided deportation for eight years by refusing to sign travel documents, The Vancouver Sun has learned.
Between 1981 and 1998, Jerry Bielecki built up a lengthy criminal record in B.C. for rape, uttering threats, unlawful confinement, fraud and drug offences. The 51-year-old refused to take sex offender programs during repeated jail stints.
During his last sentence for the armed sexual assault of a teenager, the federal Immigration minister issued a danger opinion in 2000, meaning he posed too serious a risk to remain in Canada and must be deported.
His sentence ended in 2004. Since March 1 of that year, he has been held in immigration detention pending his deportation. More than 40 monthly Immigration and Refugee Board hearings later, little progress has been made toward sending Bielecki back to his birth country.
At an IRB hearing in January, adjudicator Otto Nupponen heard Bielecki's adamant stance: “I don't want to go back to Poland.”
Last October “the Canadian Embassy in Warsaw sent a diplomatic note to Polish authorities regarding Mr. Bielecki's case,” the January hearing heard. “The embassy is still awaiting reply from Polish authorities, and they have followed up on the note, but they still have no response.”
Bielecki has repeatedly told the board he will not sign the necessary travel documents because he has no connections in the country he left 36 years ago.
“I left Poland when I was a child,” he told the IRB in 2004, admitting that he still wrestles with his “demons.”
“I do want to deal with my demons. I don't want to spend any more time in jail and I don't want to hurt anybody, even though I end up being hurt more,” he said.
Nupponen told Bielecki again last month: “The government of Canada is obliged to remove you. Unfortunately in this case, the removal hinges on your cooperation, as unfortunately, according to Polish law, you must cooperate in the removal. So through your actions, you are holding the governments of Canada and Poland at bay.”
Nupponen said “every single member of the western division of the immigration division has considered your case.”
“You are an untreated sex offender who appears to show no appreciation of his offences. The national parole board understood that. Your detention for the criminal matter continued the very longest that it could, and the national parole board imposed the very strictest of conditions upon you,” Nupponen said.
Liberal public safety critic Ujjal Dosanjh said there is a real problem when a dangerous criminal can avoid deportation simply by refusing to sign travel documents.
“I think [Public Safety Minister] Stockwell Day should take a look at this,” Dosanjh said. “This is a system that doesn't function as it should.”
Dosanjh said after someone like Bielecki has had due process and been deemed inadmissible “there is no question that there has to be a mechanism for deporting them expeditiously.”
“This is like someone getting sentenced to 15 years in jail and they refuse to sign the papers so they don't have to go to jail,” Dosanjh said.
Bielecki came to Canada at the age of 15 and never took out citizenship.
By 1981, he was charged and convicted of rape, followed by many more offences and stints in jail, some stemming from his alcohol and drug abuse.
His final conviction came in February 1998, when he was found guilty of the sexual assault of a teenage girl and the unlawful confinement of a teenage boy.
When his sentence was done, an immigration hearing was held to determine his admissibility to stay in Canada. He lost.
The IRB ordered him detained to protect people in the community from him.
Last year, he told the IRB that he would be willing to return to Poland if the Canadian government got him a job, an apartment and some money.
Nupponen pointed out that “the Canadian government isn't in the business of providing that kind of assistance.”
“The Canadian government does not guarantee jobs to Canadians. Why on earth would the Canadian government guarantee you a job, an individual who is going to be removed from Canada? Not every Canadian has a roof over their head.”
Nupponen's patience with Bielecki appears tested in many of the immigration hearing documents obtained by The Sun.
In March 2007, the IRB member said: “You are going to be removed, Mr. Bielecki. It's simply a matter of time and, as I have stated in the past a number of times, the sooner the better for everybody, including yourself.”
Bielecki's parole board records have been repeatedly referenced at the IRB's detention hearings. They show that he was convicted in jail of drug possession and “considered a part of the institution drug culture.”
The parole board said he had refused any sex offender programs and that “if released you would be likely to commit an offence causing serious harm to another.”
Bielecki's psychological report said “he has a high risk for future sex offending.”
When the Canadian government issued its danger opinion, it cited “the bizarre circumstances of the offence involving an attack upon two vulnerable victims, the lengthy criminal record, including recent convictions for offences of violence and Mr. Bielecki's failure to recognize the seriousness of an anti-social behaviour indicated that he represents a danger to the public.”
Bielecki's next monthly detention hearing is Feb. 18. In recent years, he has not been represented by counsel at his IRB appearances.
But back in 2004, lawyer Douglas Cannon, speaking on Bielecki's behalf, said that Poland does not consider the repeat offender its citizen either.
“This is a situation that perhaps occurs too often, that a young man who believes he is a Canadian citizen, then finds out after it's too late that he's not, but the Polish government, it seems quite clear, is taking that position to heart,” Cannon told the IRB. “They do not consider him to be someone they want back and they are going to do everything they can to prevent that from happening.”