Harkat's evidence `evasive . . . implausible,' federal government lawyer arguesposted on February 28, 2012 | in Category Mohamed Harkat | PermaLink
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Date: February 23, 2012
OTTAWA - A federal lawyer says an Ottawa man facing deportation under a federal security certificate had ample opportunity to defend himself from terrorism allegations under Canada's revamped security law, but chose not to use that opportunity.
David Tyndale told the Federal Court of Appeal Wednesday that Mohamed Harkat could have given a detailed defence against federal allegations he associated with terrorists but instead chose to be evasive and contradictory. Harkat's defence, Tyndale argued, was not limited to mere denials as his lawyers have suggested.
``That's not what Mr. Harkat was limited to: It's what he chose to do on a number of occasions,'' Tyndale told the appellate court.
Harkat's defence team has asked the Appeal Court to strike down the federal government's revamped security certificate law, introduced in 2008, as unconstitutional.
The previous version, used to detain and deport foreign-born terror suspects, was effectively struck down by the Supreme Court in February 2007. The high court said the process was so secretive it denied defendants the fundamental right to meet the case against them.
The Harkat case is the first to test whether the government's revised security certificate law can withstand a challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Harkat's lawyers say the process still does not allow defendants to meet the case against them since they're only given an outline of allegations due to national security concerns. The allegations, they say, lack critical details, such as the information's origin.
Harkat, an Algerian refugee, is appealing a December 2010 Federal Court decision by Judge Simon Noel, who upheld the government's case against Harkat, declaring him an active and dangerous member of the al-Qaida network.
Tyndale said that although Harkat was not allowed access to classified information, his legal proxies - lawyers known as special advocates - were.
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