Judge won’t toss amended Omar Khadr lawsuit against Ottawa but wants changes

by Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr deserves another chance to widen his civil lawsuit against the federal government but his lawyers first need to rework his claim, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley made the decision despite government arguments that Khadr’s request to amend his lawsuit — originally filed in 2004 — should simply be tossed.

“I’m not sure that I should deny the plaintiff the opportunity,” Mosley said.

The judge did agree with government lawyers that the proposed new claim — which would seek $20 million for Canada’s violation of Khadr’s rights — needs rewriting.

Khadr’s lawyer, John Phillips, was pleased Mosley appeared sympathetic to allowing a broader suit to proceed.

“We’re going to have to do a better job with sharper pencils,” Phillips said.

A new issue is Khadr’s contention that Canada conspired with the United States in breaching his rights when intelligence agents went down to Guantanamo Bay to interview him in 2003 and 2004.

Recent documents show the RCMP was building a terrorism-related case against Khadr at the same time as the Americans were developing their war-crimes charges against the teen.

However, American authorities refused access to him unless Canadian agents shared any intelligence gained from him, which they did, the documents show.

Khadr, however, was never informed about that agreement or that he was the target of a criminal probe in Canada.

“Canada and the United States were conspiring together to further his detention,” Phillips told Mosley.

“We don’t know who is making agreements but it reflects a conspiracy.”

“Certainly there was an agreement that the recordings of the interviews would be shared with the U.S.,” said Mosley, who has been privy to secret documents.

For their part, federal lawyers attacked Khadr’s proposed claim as “deficient” on the grounds that it was too vague and argumentative.

“There are tremendous difficulties with what we’ve got now,” Crown lawyer Barney Brucker said.

The Toronto-born Khadr, 27, pleaded guilty to five war crimes — including murder in violation of the law of war — before a widely maligned military commission three years ago. He now insists he had no choice because he faced indefinite detention even in the unlikely case of an acquittal.

Brucker’s co-counsel, Jessica Winbaum, argued Khadr was essentially asking a Canadian court to rule on an American legal proceeding.

The proposed claim, she said, was an “indirect attack” on the U.S. government.

“Guantanamo Bay cannot be put on trial in a Canadian court,” Winbaum said.

“That seems to be beside the point,” Mosley interjected, saying it didn’t matter if one party to the alleged conspiracy was beyond the reach of his court.

Mosley also noted that Khadr’s plea agreement with the U.S. would not stand up if it was coerced as he alleges.

Khadr was 15 years old when the Americans arrested him in July 2002 following a brutal firefight in which he was horrifically injured and an American special forces soldier was killed.

He spent a decade in Guantanamo Bay before his transfer to Canada in September 2012 and is now serving out his eight-year American sentence in an Edmonton prison.

Phillips said he planned to provide a reworked statement of claim to the government for a response ahead of a proposed case conference with the judge in mid-January.

After that, Mosley will make a final determination as to whether Khadr can add the new causes of action to his existing lawsuit.




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Judge won’t toss amended Omar Khadr lawsuit against Ottawa but wants changes

  1. A ‘conspiracy’ to share information?

    That’s what police normally do, or certainly should do.

    And 20 million… for what? For letting the scoundrel back into Canada he owes the taxpayer at least as much.

    • Believe in a two tier justice system do you? One for the righteous, like you, and one for the assumed guilty, where pretty near anything goes.

      • Not ‘assumed guilty’, but ‘convicted’.

        There’s a difference.

        • In a Kangeroo court with a plea as the only option,other then never getting out, there isn’t actually.

          • Big difference in law.

  2. “That seems to be beside the point,” Mosley interjected, saying it
    didn’t matter if one party to the alleged conspiracy was beyond the
    reach of his court.

    Mosley also noted that Khadr’s plea agreement with the U.S. would not stand up if it was coerced as he alleges.”

    Just where does Harper and the DoJ get these freakin’ lawyers from – the discount bin at the Fraser Institute?

    The lady’s argument seems to amount to – he claims he got an unfair trial, and was coerced into an untruthful plea – too bad, we can’t do anything about that now…and how dare he attack the US system!
    Khadr is almost certainly not completely innocent, but i’m starting to think that like Arrar, he needs to win this for all Canadians who think everyone deserves a fair trial as a right of citizenship, if not justice. That he made bad choices and did wrong is starting to become beside the point if the means to convict him reek to heaven.

    • He was, and probably still is, simply evil.

      Justice has not yet been served on him, especially if he gets let out early in Canada instead of serving his term as he would in the US.

      • How do you “know” this…did you speak to god? Or did he speak to you?

        • The US does not have the ‘statutory release’ provisions we have here.

          In the US, people serve their time.

          • It was a military court operating under special provisions , they even said they might not release him if he won.
            No matter, since you’ve resorted to troll tactics[ intentionally not answering the question asked] this is over.

          • If you dislike the nature of the answers, ask better questions.

            For example, don’t use ‘this’ when it could refer to any of three concepts. I took the last mentioned one and answered for it. If you intended another, then you’d have needed to specify.

          • Good effort, not bad, i’ll even cede a point for my vagueness. But nevertheless your whole line of thought was mere assertion, conjecture and personal opinion. I’m pretty sure you knew where I was going. I asked for your authority. Unfortunately your opinion isn’t evidence.

  3. Omar Khadr is a CONVICTED WAR CRIMINAL. He plead guilty to the crimes he committed and now believes that the Canadian taxpayers owe him something. His lawsuit alleging that his “rights” were violated is frivolous and should be thrown out without further consideration. Only in a Canadian courtroom would this miscarriage of justice be permitted.

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