Federal court will not review Jackie Tran's deportation order
By Jason van Rassel
January 29, 2010
CALGARY – After two years of legal wrangling, the lawyer representing alleged gangster Jackie Tran conceded a court ruling Thursday likely means his client has run out of ways to avoid being deported to Vietnam.
The Federal Court of Canada's refusal to intervene in the case means that a 2004 order to deport Tran on the basis of “serious criminality” can be carried out, said his lawyer, Raj Sharma.
“The removal order is valid, and, of course, enforceable,” said Sharma, who hadn't spoken to Tran when reached Thursday afternoon.
“Obviously, this has devastating consequences to him. I don't know if anyone is ever prepared to leave. This is the only country he has ever known.”
However, very little in Tran's protracted legal battle to remain in Canada has been clear-cut.
Last September, Sharma asked the Federal Court for a judicial review of a second deportation order issued on the grounds that Tran belongs to a criminal organization, the FOB Killers.
The Federal Court was scheduled to hear that matter in April; however, Sharma said his interpretation of Thursday's ruling means the Canada Border Services Agency can act immediately on the 2004 order.
Citing security reasons, a border services spokeswoman declined to comment on when the agency will deport Tran.
“We are committed to pursuing the removal of people who break our laws,” said Lisa White.
While border services is “pleased” with the ruling, White was unable to say whether it is an unambiguous signal for the agency to proceed with Tran's deportation.
“We are currently exploring our next steps,” she said.
Tran, 27, came to Canada with his mother as a child in 1993. Tran is a permanent resident, but never became a Canadian citizen, which would have prevented his deportation.
The Immigration and Refugee Board's order to deport Tran for criminality rested largely on convictions he received for trafficking cocaine and assault with a weapon.
Sharma tried appealing that order on compassionate grounds last year, arguing that Tran was the primary provider for his young stepsister and his mother, who was injured in a workplace accident and has little command of English.
The immigration board's appeal division rejected the application, ruling that Tran's ongoing involvement with the FOB Killers and the danger his criminal associations posed to his mother and stepsister outweigh any compassionate reasons for letting him stay.
Thursday's decision by Justice Judith Snider upheld that ruling.
“There is no reason for the court to intervene in this case,” Snider wrote.
Although disappointed by Snider's decision, Sharma said his client has been treated fairly by immigration authorities and the courts during his bid to stay in the country.
“I do believe that Mr. Tran has been heard,” said Sharma.
“I can say I'm proud of our legal system in Canada.”
While Tran's criminal convictions were never an issue during the deportation fight, he repeatedly denied belonging to the FOB Killers.
A war between FOB and the FOB Killers has been responsible for at least 25 homicides since 2002, though there have been no killings associated with the conflict since January 2009.