Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Child's killer might get out

He's a 'grave' risk; deportation drags

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He repeatedly abused his girlfriend's two-year-old son while they were living in southern Manitoba, eventually inflicting fatal injuries.

Now the convicted killer is about to get out of prison, faces deportation back to Africa and has been deemed a "grave" danger to reoffend.

His impending release alarmed justice officials Friday and they asked Federal Court for an emergency hearing in the interest of public safety.

"This guy should not be in the public," a source told the Free Press Friday.

Beyan Clarke, 30, was convicted of manslaughter in the February 2006 death of Alfred Sirleaf in Morden. Court was told the toddler suffered more than 100 injuries over a lengthy period, including some with a weapon such as a belt. The cause of death was blunt trauma to the brain.

The victim and his mother came to Canada only months earlier after escaping a refugee camp in Africa. Clarke admitted administering corporal punishment while living with the family in their new Canadian home.

He pleaded guilty in 2008 and was sentenced to nine years behind bars. He was also hit with an automatic deportation order. He came to Canada in 2003 after fleeing war-torn Liberia.

But the deportation process couldn't begin until he was released on parole, which occurred last fall. Clarke stepped out of prison in October and was immediately taken into custody by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) pending arrangements for a one-way ticket back to Liberia.

However, his deportation has been stalled because Clarke argues his safety would be compromised if returned home due to the politically unstable environment. As well, CBSA officials must work on particulars with Liberia's government, which has been dragging out in the case.

Since October, Clarke has appeared regularly before an Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) member for status updates, which must be held every month by law. The CBSA has requested his continued detention, which was granted every time.

An assessment in 2012 found Clarke presents a "grave" risk to reoffend, given his background and the details of his crime. This was a necessary step to move deportation ahead, as Clarke is a refugee in Canada under the Geneva Convention.

A federal judge ruled last year the personal risks Clarke claimed he would face if deported are of no consequence. Justice officials expected Clarke would continue in custody while they worked to finalize his deportation.

But that changed Thursday when an IRB adjudicator doing a monthly status update apparently ran out of patience and ruled the deportation process has been taking too long.

With no end in sight, Clarke was ordered to be released on the grounds an "indefinite" detention is a breach of his rights.

That sent federal justice officials into action. They have filed a motion in Federal Court seeking to stay the order. No date for a hearing has been set, but the move at least temporarily blocks Clarke's immediate release.

If the Federal Court doesn't overturn the IRB decision, Clarke would become a free man -- at least until the CBSA can finalize his deportation.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 11, 2014 A9

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