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International Law - EXTRADITION AND CRIMINAL MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE - Bars to extradition - Ability to prosecute in Canada - Abuse of process - Humanitarian or compassionate grounds

Thursday, December 01, 2016 @ 7:00 PM  


Applications by Romano, Djuracic, Anderson, and Nenasheff for judicial review of Minister of Justice orders for their surrender for extradition purposes. The applicants and four other individuals were committed for extradition to California to stand trial for drug trafficking and related conspiracy offences. It was alleged that hundreds of pounds of packaged marijuana were concealed in hollowed out logs shipped by flatbed truck from British Columbia to California in conjunction with a log home business. It was alleged that the applicants were involved in the preparation of the logs for shipment. The extradition judge concluded that there was sufficient direct evidence and related inferences of knowledge of the concealment operation to support the applicants’ committal for surrender. The Minister received submissions from three of the four applicants and found that their surrender to California was justified, as that was where the greater impact of the offences occurred. The Minister found no considerations that would render surrender unjust or oppressive or contrary to the applicants’ rights under the Charter. The applicants sought judicial review.

HELD: Applications dismissed. The Minister’s function in ordering surrender did not include consideration of the extent of the applicants’ knowledge concerning the destination of the logs, and whether it was sufficient to sustain a conviction under American law. The Minister was permitted to consider the location of the harmful impact of the offending conduct and was not required to consider whether Canada would take jurisdiction if the circumstances were reversed. Acceptance of the assertion of jurisdiction by California was consistent with the Minister’s monitoring of Canada’s treaty obligations. There was no basis for finding that s. 5 of the Extradition Act was unconstitutionally overbroad in conferring discretion to facilitate the effect of the extradition treaty. It remained open to the applicants to challenge jurisdiction at trial in California. The Minister did not err in finding that the severity and workings of the American sentencing regime did not serve as a bar to surrender. The Minister reasonably concluded that the delay between the alleged offences and extradition proceedings did not give rise to an abuse of process given the complexities associated with the investigation and time required to prepare the extradition request.