April 09 2010 at 07:42AM
Judgment is at hand for Brandon Huntley, the "white South African refugee" who claimed he had been called "a white dog" and "a settler" and stabbed seven times by black South Africans and should therefore be granted asylum in Canada.
The Canadian government this week appealed against Huntley being granted asylum and Judge Francois Lemieux said he would review the arguments. He did not set a date for his findings.
Huntley was granted refugee status in Canada last August. The ruling caused an uproar in South Africa, with human rights groups slamming the decision and the ANC calling it racist.
The court heard that 113 000 news articles had been written worldwide about the case.
At the appeal hearing, Huntley's lawyer Rocco Galati argued that the South African government had interfered with Canada's judicial system by pressing immigration minister Jason Kenney, according to the Toronto Sun's website.
But lawyers for Kenney maintained the judgment that gave Huntley asylum, on the basis of the alleged persecution he suffered as a white South African, was so ludicrous it must be overturned.
Galati reportedly said: "This is an abuse of process from outside pressure and it is being done for political purposes. We can't have this kind of interference cut into our judicial system. Where does my client get a fair hearing? The proceedings have been tainted.
"A foreign government is interfering with our minister of immigration. This court must be seen as independent or it will have no legitimacy. The public needs to be able to see a reasonable perception of independence. This court is being used by the minister for his political ends."
He then asked the court to request the minutes of any meetings between the immigration ministry and the South African government.
The Toronto Sun reported that the immigration department claimed the case was under review for legitimate reasons.
"We were asked to see if there was a legal basis for a judicial review. We read it (the decision to grant refugee status) and they got it wrong," said Bernard Kaplan, counsel for the ministry.
This article was originally published on page 6 of Pretoria News on April 09, 2010