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Parole Board sidesteps natural justice and fairness in revoked pardon

Though pardons are revoked on occasion, alleged terrorist Raed Jaser’s case represents a “highly unusual” situation, says Toronto criminal lawyer Tushar K. Pain.

Jaser, charged with plotting to blow up a VIA Rail train along with fellow alleged conspirator Chiheb Esseghaier, had a 2009 pardon revoked by the Parole Board of Canada this past July, according to the National Post.

The board will, “typically wait to see if the pending criminal charges result in a finding of guilt,” says Pain. The situation, he adds, is "highly unusual" since it hasn’t been proven in a court of law that Jaser is no longer of good conduct.

Jaser’s lawyer, John Norris, will likely fight the revocation in Federal Court, says Pain, “alleging that the decision amounted to an abuse of process, that it was contrary to the principles of natural justice and fairness, that there was a reasonable apprehension of bias,” and the board revoked the pardon through misrepresentation of the law and facts.

This rare move by the board could result in similar situations arising in the future, if the circumstances present themselves, says Pain. If Jaser’s lawyer contests the revocation, “the outcome of that judicial review, too, will have an impact on how the Parole Board proceeds in the future,” says Pain.

“However, what must be remembered is that this is a highly unusual case: It is extremely high profile with political implications involving allegations that go to the heart of our national security,” says Pain. “Such scenarios are still quite rare.”

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