|Stony Mountain Institution (Jason Halstead/QMI Agency)
WINNIPEG - Federal immigration officials made no mistakes in concluding a Liberian man who brutally beat a child to death in Manitoba poses a "grave" risk to the Canadian public, a federal court judge has ruled.
Justice James O'Reilly's decision in Beyan Dunoh Clarke's troubling case essentially removes the major roadblock preventing border officials from deporting Clarke to his unfamiliar African homeland.
The 29-year-old is currently in Stony Mountain Institution serving a nine-year sentence for manslaughter handed to him in February 2008.
He admitted to abusing and ultimately killing his girlfriend's two-year-old son, Alfread Sirleaf.
The little boy's body was covered with more than 100 bruises, including some showing he was likely hit with a belt or a stick. He died of brain trauma.
Court heard Clarke beat the child for various acts of misbehaviour, such as not sleeping when he was supposed to.
Alfread had only been in Canada for a few months after escaping an African refugee camp with his mother and both wound up living with Clarke.
Last summer, the immigration department issued a risk ruling declaring Clarke a public danger. As a refugee residing in Canada under the Geneva Convention, a deportation order against Clarke couldn't be enforced until such a ruling was made.
Clarke fought the ruling on a number of grounds, including claims the federal government made mistakes in finding he's "unlikely" to face risk of persecution or mistreatment if sent back to Liberia.
Clarke's family has connections to a former opposition political regime in Liberia, a country once ravaged by bloody civil warfare.
His family fled the country to a refugee camp in 1999, eventually arriving as refugees in Canada in October 2003.
Clarke, however, failed to back up his fear of persecution claims, O'Reilly ruled in a 16-page written decision.
"Mr. Clarke points out that hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in Liberia, whereas he has only killed one Canadian. Therefore, on balance, he should be allowed to stay in Canada," O'Reilly said in summarizing one of Clarke's main arguments.
"The question is not what has happened in Liberia in the past. The (immigration) Minister must assess the current situation and decide whether Mr. Clarke faces a risk of serious mistreatment in the future," O'Reilly said.
Immigration officials made no errors in how they arrived at their ultimate conclusion, the judge stated.
"I accept, as did the Minister, that Mr. Clarke may encounter difficulties in Liberia. But he has killed a child here, and presents a risk of doing so again," O'Reilly said.
Clarke also argued officials let sentiment over his admittedly "grotesque" crime cloud their judgment when determining his actual risk.