Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Killer in custody until he's deported

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A convicted Manitoba child-killer who justice officials say poses a "grave" risk to public safety will not be released into the community pending his delayed deportation back to Africa.

A federal court judge overturned a controversial decision by the Immigration and Refugee Board to free Beyan Clarke on the grounds his rights have been violated.

That means Clarke will remain in custody indefinitely while justice officials work to secure his deportation.

Clarke, 30, was convicted of manslaughter in the February 2006 death of two-year-old Alfred Sirleaf in Morden. Court was told the toddler suffered more than 100 injuries over a lengthy period. 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.

The deportation process couldn't begin until he was released on parole, which occurred last fall, at which point he was immediately taken into custody by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) pending his return to Liberia.

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. The CBSA has requested his continued detention, which was granted every time.

Justice officials expected Clarke would continue in custody while they worked to finalize his deportation.

That changed last month 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 released on the grounds an "indefinite" detention is a breach of his rights.

Federal justice officials filed an emergency motion in Federal Court seeking to stay the order. That move blocked Clarke's release. The Federal Court has overturned the IRB decision, making it a permanent detention.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 19, 2014 A3

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