Canada: Immigration judge found guilty in sex for refugee status determination

That’s what the headline in the National Post tells us, but something doesn’t seem right with this story.  I think the judge may well have had inappropriate designs on this South Korean woman seeking asylum in Canada, but there’s a line in here that sounds fishy.

TORONTO — A former immigration adjudicator and Toronto city councilor has been convicted of offering to write a favourable refugee claim in exchange for sexual relations.

Steve Ellis, 50, was found guilty Wednesday morning of one count of breach of trust under the Criminal Code and also of illegally seeking a benefit contrary to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Thea Herman concluded that it was clear that Ellis was seeking to trade sex for a positive ruling when he met with Ji Hye Kim at a Toronto coffee shop in September 2006.

I was planning to just post this as straight news, but here’s where the story starts to smell.

The central piece of evidence at the trial was an audio and video recording of the meeting, made by Ms. Kim and her boyfriend (now husband) Brad Tripp.

The pristine quality recording was played in court during the trial and showed Ellis talking about how he wanted to help Ms. Kim, even though refugee claimants from South Korea are rarely successful.  

There seems to have been no overt proposition.

She obviously married the Canadian guy (I’m guessing Tripp is Canadian) and thus got her immigration status secured.  Why did she need to go through this judge to seek asylum from of all places, South Korea?  Was this a sting from the beginning?

Then notice the couple went to the media with their “pristine” tape recording before seeing the police.  Hmmmm?

Ms. Kim was accused by Mr. Rosen (the lawyer for the judge) during the trial of being willing “to do anything” to get her status as a legal immigrant in Canada, which she adamantly denied. He noted that the couple approached the media with the recording of the meeting, before speaking to police.

There is surely more to this story!

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