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Thursday, 4 August 2011

Dany Villanueva, a permanent resident since 1998, lost his appeal to a Canadian immigration tribunalWednesday and will be deported to his native Honduras

06:06 | , ,

There aren’t sufficient humanitarian or compassionate grounds to allow Dany Villanueva, whose brother Fredy was shot dead by Montreal police three years ago, to remain in Canada where he emigrated from his native Honduras in 1998, a Canadian immigration tribunal has ruled.

Lawyer Stéphane Handfield had argued during an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing this year that his client’s crimes and his membership in the Bloods street gang in Montreal North should not be reason to deport him because there are cases where immigrants with far worse track records have been allowed to stay, including terrorists.

The board acknowledged that the Central American country has a lot of violence and street gangs, and that Villanueva’s return will entail a period of adjustment. But it said in its 42-page ruling that the government is tackling the problem and has set up youth assistance programs, including one to have tattoos removed.

Handfield told The Gazette on Wednesday he plans to appeal the tribunal’s ruling to the Federal Court.

Villanueva, a permanent resident of Canada, told the seven-day hearing in Montreal in April that he feared for his life if he returned to Honduras because his name was known – yet he had his name tattooed on his body, the decision pointed out.

“If the appellant truly believes his tattoos will put him in danger in Honduras, he can still have them removed,” says the judgment, rendered on July 22 but released Wednesday.

The deportation order came in the midst of a coroner’s inquest into the shooting death of unarmed Fredy Villanueva, 18, by police Constable Jean-Loup Lapointe. He and his partner, Stéphanie Pilotte, had stopped to question a group of young men playing dice in a Montreal North parking lot when Lapointe fired his gun, killing Villanueva and injuring two others. The inquest wrapped up this year, but the report has been delayed because the city of Montreal and its police force have filed a motion in Quebec Superior Court to stop information about the safety latch on officers’ pistols from becoming public.

In his closing arguments of Villanueva’s appeal of his deportation order, Handfield said even terrorists are allowed to stay if there is evidence they would be tortured in their home countries.

His client was sentenced to 11 months in jail in 2006 for possession of a firearm and theft. He is currently facing two charges of impaired driving, possession of cannabis and failure to comply with a court order. The trial is scheduled for December.

Villanueva also has a history of violating probation conditions by continuing to hang out with gang members, as well as breaking curfew and taking illegal drugs and drinking alcohol.

Chantal Boucher, the lawyer for the public security minister, said during the hearing that Villanueva remained a gang member by choice, terrorized neighbourhoods in Montreal North by “taxing” and threatening young people and continues to “pose a danger to the citizens of Canada.”

Boucher noted that family members returned to Honduras at least five times between 2001 and 2010 and were not harmed. Villanueva’s parents were accepted in Canada as refugees in 1995. Dany, who was 12 at the time, followed with his three sisters and brother.


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