Last updated on August 30th, 2021
The Supreme Court of Canada has “clarified” the elements of the duress defence. The defence is important because it can affect admissibility.
For example, in Guerra Diaz v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2013 FC 88, the Federal Court of Court determined that the Immigration and Refugee Board improperly applied the test of whether duress applied, and ordered a new hearing by a different member.
Duress and Inadmissibility
It is basically trite law that where there is duress, then a person does not have the mens rea do either commit a crime or be a member in a group that renders the individual inadmissible to Canada. In Jalloh v. Canada (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2012 FC 317, the Federal Court stated that:
In my view, it is preferable to consider the evidence of membership along with the evidence of coercion in determining whether there are reasonable grounds to believe the person genuinely was a member of the group. One way of looking at this issue is to regard evidence of duress as defeating the mens rea of membership (Thiyagarajah v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2011 FC 339). Accordingly, evidence relating to duress must be considered along with the evidence relating to membership in deciding whether the person really was a member of the group or, rather, was motivated by self-preservation.
In sum, a person cannot be considered to be a member of a group when his or her involvement with it is based on duress. At a minimum, a member is someone who intentionally carries out acts in furtherance of the group’s goals.Read more ›