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A former Toronto-area Immigration and Refugee Board member (Judge) has been found guilty for trying to obtain sex from a female refugee claimant from South Korea in exchange for refugee status.
Steve Ellis, 50, was found guilty on Wednesday, April 21st, of bribery under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act as well as breach of trust.
Ellis’s only defense was that he may have acted inappropriately but did not solicit sex from the refugee, who was 25 at the time, specifically in exchange for a positive outcome on her claim.
He also visited the woman at her workplace and at a local coffee shop to further express to her that he needed her to sleep with him. His conversations with the woman were recorded, and in them he stated he had already written up his denial of her application but wanted something to change his mind.
Ellis is also a former Toronto city councillor, and his lawyers have not yet decided whether or not they will appeal the verdict. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 4th.
When it comes to refugee claims, these judges or “members” as they are called, literally hold the futures of those involved in their hands and this is a positive step forward for all of those who may feel like they have been treated unfairly during the process.
The refugee is now a landed immigrant in Canada. “I’m just glad that no one will have to go through what I went through,” she told reporters after the verdict.
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