Ontario is not a â€œdumping groundâ€ for American sex offenders, Premier
Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday as he urged Ottawa to fight a U.S. judgeâ€™s
decision to allow an American teacher who sexually abused a student to
serve his probation time in Canada.
McGuinty urged the federal government to step in after a New York
state court agreed to allow Malcolm Watson, convicted of sexually
abusing a 15-year-old student, to return to St. Catharines, Ont., where
he lives with his wife and three children.
â€œItâ€™s obviously not the precedent that we want to allow the
Americans to establish, (and) itâ€™s not the kind of thing that weâ€™re
prepared to accept,â€ McGuinty said.
â€œWe will certainly work with the federal government â€” and I
hope weâ€™ll be of one mind in this regard â€” to ensure that we donâ€™t
become some kind of dumping ground for convicted offenders (from) south
of the border.â€
Watson is now back in Canada, said his lawyer, Oscar Smukler. Now isn’t that some name? Oscar Smukler. You have to love it! So now, this plea is in question. Will anyone step in?
After a judge convicted him of sexually abusing a 15-year-old
student, teacher Malcolm Watson was offered two punishment options: an
American jail cell or exile to Canada.
Mr. Watson chose Canada.
The unusual sentence, which has immigration lawyers questioning its
legality, means that Mr. Watson, 35, must stay out of the United States
for the next three years. A U.S. citizen who taught at the elite
Buffalo Seminary girls’ school, he has a Canadian wife and family.
Mr. Watson’s Canadian exile, which begins today, has the legal community scratching its head.
While there will doubtless be much analysis of whether the banishment itself is illegal (and I’d be happy to discuss that), I want to know what will happen if Canada decides it doesn’t want this individual. Can Canada deport this man? If Canada does so, where does that leave Mr. Watson? Is he in violation of his sentence?
This clearly won’t be the end of this drama:
Erie County district attorney Frank Clark called the plea deal "a
little dicey" but said the family of the 15-year-old victim was happy.
So were some U.S. law-enforcement officials: "He’s Canada’s problem,
not ours," said one, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Mr. Watson’s odd sentence has attracted the attention of Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Monte Solberg.
"If non-citizens pose a threat to Canada, we will do everything in
our power to have that person removed as quickly as possible," he said.
Also, as some of the comments point out on Prof. Berman’s blog, what if the roles were reversed and Canada was banishing its "criminals" to the US?
Sure is interesting. Thoughts?