Brandon Huntley to appeal asylum ruling
Jinine Botha, Beeld
Johannesburg - The Canadian legal team of the white South African who was granted and then lost asylum status in Canada, is preparing to appeal the withdrawal of his right to remain in that country.
Brandon Huntley, 32, caused a stir in Canada and South Africa in 2009 when he claimed his fear of crime against whites made him a candidate for asylum, and a government board agreed.
Huntley, who grew up in Cape Town, claimed he had been attacked seven times by black robbers and called a “white dog” and a “settler”.
A panel of the Canadian immigration board found that his fear was justified and granted him asylum in August 2009.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney appealed to the country’s federal court for a review of the decision by William Davis of the immigration and refugee board.
Advocate Russell Kaplan, one of Huntley’s lawyers, alleged that Kenney would never have appealed the decision if not for “pressure, driven by allegations of racism” by the South African government.
On November 24 2010, Judge James Russell ruled in the federal court that granting Huntley refugee status had been a mistake, adding it was clear Huntley came to Canada to look for work, not because he was fleeing persecution.
Kaplan said the ruling was a turning point for white South Africans who feel they are being targeted because of their skin colour.
“In his judgment, Russell said that just because Huntley’s circumstances could not be regarded under law as persecution, this didn’t mean other white South Africans could not qualify.”
He said an application for appeal was made to the federal court of appeal on December 22, to be heard by three judges.
Kaplan said the appeal turns on three questions, of which he was only prepared to discuss one.
Canadian government painted 'racist'
The appeal goes to the question of whether the federal court had the jurisdiction to hear the government’s appeal.
He said the main argument is that the South African government painted the Canadian government as racist when Huntley was granted asylum.
“The question is whether a new judge would be afraid to be called a racist if he or she upheld Huntley’s second application.”
Huntley may remain in Canada while the legal process is completed.