Immigration Consequences of Criminal Conviction
More recently, issues in Criminal Courts are intersecting with issues being dealt with by Immigration Courts (IRPA).
Lawyers need to avoid possible claims that they failed to appreciate, or take action to mitigate, the implications of a six-month sentence for a client's right to appeal a deportation order (for non-Canadian citizens).
In the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision of Pham, the court acknowledged that a trial judge's lack of awareness of an accused's vulnerability to deportation could be relevant to the appeal of a sentence, the court took a fairly conservative approach to the question of judicial discretion to reduce sentences for immigration reasons.
In a subsequent Ontario Court of appeal decision, the court considered Pham and it's application to the facts before them. In R. vs. Pinas, the OCA, made it clear that the court supports the exercise of discretion where the accused's circumstances merit it.
Cases are heard every day in the Mississauga & Brampton Criminal Courts dealing with these very issues. There is a limit to how much a court is prepared to exercise discretion to avoid the triggering of the automatic deportation laws. Criminal Lawyers need to be aware of possible negitive immplication of a length sentence to an individual's immigration status.