Canadian court revives case of deported Sri Lankan accused of killing wife

After the second-degree murder charge was stayed, Thanabalasingham was judged a danger to society and a flight by immigration authorities and was immediately arrested. The Crown appealed the stay, but he was deported in July 2017 before the appeal could be heard.Quebec’s appellate court subsequently rejected the Crown’s appeal, declaring that in Thanabalasingham’s absence his prosecution had become irrelevant and theoretical. In 2017, Thanabalasingham avoided trial for the alleged murder of his wife when the Quebec Superior Court ruled the nearly 60-month delay between his arrest and the start of his trial was unreasonable. The Supreme Court’s 2016 Jordan ruling set a 30-month limit between the laying of charges and a trial for Superior Court cases. Thanabalasingham’s wife, Anuja Baskaran, had been found dead in the couple’s home in 2012 with knife wounds to her neck. Quebec public prosecutor’s office said it is satisfied with the court’s decision. Spokesman Jean Pascal Boucher said his office will continue to work to ensure justice is served in the case. “The order for a ‘new’ trial that the Crown seeks is simply not susceptible of being executed,” Justice Allan Hilton wrote for the Court of Appeal majority in 2017. “There is no factual basis before us to believe that such a trial will or could plausibly ever happen. I would accordingly dismiss the appeal because it is now moot.”In a ruling from the bench, the Supreme Court said the lower court’s decision was wrong. “It remains a current litigation even if the accused’s return to Canada is not probable,” Chief Justice Richard Wagner said on behalf of the court.The fact Thanabalasingham was deported to Sri Lanka — which doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Canada — doesn’t make the case theoretical, Wagner said. Despite no longer being in Canada, a Sri Lankan national who had his murder charge stayed because of unreasonable delays in his trial isn’t done with the Quebec justice system just yet.Canada’s highest court has ruled the murder case of Sivaloganathan Thanabalasingham should be sent back to the Quebec Court of Appeal, the Ottawa Citizen reported. read more

Local UN staff still working in Iraq to bring relief to civilian

Geoffrey Keele, spokesman for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), told the daily briefing on UN humanitarian operations in Amman, Jordan, that the officer-in-charge in Baghdad, Hatim George, reported that national staff felt they were “affirming their existence by continuing to work and doing what they can.”UNICEF national staff also continued to provide services to relieve immediate humanitarian needs as well as put in place emergency services to save lives and look after the welfare of children, Mr. Keele added.Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it had a team in Baghdad ready to head to Basra as soon as it received travel permits to assist with the potential health emergency in Iraq’s second largest city, where the health of the population was under serious threat from the lack of access to safe, clean drinking water.The Office of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (UNHCI) said that while half of Basra’s 1.5 million inhabitants now had access to drinking water, three urban centres south of the city remained disconnected since last Friday. About 400,000 people were affected and remained at risk with repair work impossible under present conditions, spokesman David Wimhurst said.WHO spokesperson Fadela Chaib said the agency’s teams elsewhere in Iraq were working intensively to keep the health system functioning, and together with the national authorities were distributing medicines and other medical supplies in northern Iraq.Continuing heavy bombardment of Baghdad was having a serious impact on the population’s well-being, particularly children and other vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, the elderly and disabled, she added. The bombardment also made it extremely difficult for medical staff to get to those who may need medical assistance, including women in labour.The UN Development Programme (UNDP) reported that its office, which has worked consistently on projects throughout Iraq since 1976, was open for a limited time each day. The agency has nearly 500 staff in the country and, among other functions, provides emergency power supply to basic humanitarian services, such as hospitals, water pumping and water purification stations, sewerage infrastructure, and camps of internal refugees.The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said there have been no reported arrivals of refugees outside Iraq. “We hope this means that all our preparedness activities in the region have been futile, but these are still early days,” spokesman Peter Kessler said.”Media keep asking when we expect any Iraqi refugees to flee in substantial numbers,” he added. “Well, to repeat a quip I heard here yesterday, UNHCR is a ‘non-prophet’ organization.” read more