MONTREAL â€” A man who was charged with killing his wife will remain detained by the border services agency while he appeals a deportation order, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada ruled Thursday.
Immigration board member Stephane Morin said Sivaloganathan Thanabalasingam remains a flight risk and a danger to the public.
Thanabalasingam, 31, arrived in Canada as a refugee from Sri Lanka in 2004, and recently became the first person in Quebec to not have murder charges against him proceeded with due to unreasonable delays in the justice system.
Despite the stay of proceedings, Canada Border Services Agency arrested him before he was officially released on the murder allegation and Canada’s immigration and refugee board ordered him deported to his country of origin.
Thanabalasingam is appealing that decision, which could take years to be heard.
His lawyer, Vic Artinian, argued at the immigration hearing that his client should be released into the care of his brother and sister-in-law while he appeals his deportation order.
Morin refused, stating that the two family members didn’t seem to understand Canada’s justice system, and had testified earlier in the day they didn’t think he did anything wrong, despite being accused of murdering his wife.
Thanabalasingam was also arrested and served jail time in 2012 for domestic abuse.
During Thursday’s detention review hearing, Thanabalasingam’s sister-in-law said she believed his dead wife was the person causing problems “because she kept on calling the police on him.”
His brother gave similar testimony.
“I am being asked to release you into the custody of people who believe you did nothing wrong,” Morin said. “The alternative to your detention is not reasonable.”
Thanabalasingam was charged with second-degree murder in the slaying of his 21-year-old wife, Anuja Baskaran.
He was arrested in August 2012 and spent 56 months in jail without a trial, which is almost double the ceiling set out in a 2016 Supreme Court ruling referred to as the Jordan decision.
That ruling set a deadline of up to 30 months for a case in Superior Court to reach trial from the time someone is arrested. In lower courts, it is 18 months.
Superior Court Justice Alexandre Boucher stayed the charges against Thanabalasingam on April 6, triggering outrage and calls for more action from provincial politicians.
Morin said Thanabalasingam was a flight risk because there were reasonable grounds to believe he wouldn’t comply with a deportation order.
The board member added that Thanabalasingam was also a danger to society because of his past record of domestic abuse.
Morin said that Baskaran had called police several times complaining that Thanabalasingam was hitting her.
He married Baskaran in April 2011. In December 2011, Baskaran told police he had hit her ten times over the head.
Thanabalasingam was arrested a second time for another incident of conjugal violence on Jan. 2, 2012, with an accusation for assault with a weapon, the hearing heard.
He was arrested a third time for domestic assault and failure to comply with conditions in May 2012.
“Three months after the third complaint Mrs. Baskaran was dead,” Morin said.
Thanabalasingam will have another detention review hearing in 30 days, according to federal law.
The date is tentatively scheduled for May 11, 2017.
Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press