By Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press, September 9, 2012
TORONTO - A judge's findings in freeing a Syrian-born man from almost eight years of national security detention should be enough to validate his civil claim against the federal government, his lawyers are set to argue this week.
On the contrary, government lawyers say, the Federal Court findings in favour of Hassan Almrei should not apply to his lawsuit because they were made for an entirely different purpose.
It will be up to Ontario's top court to choose between the two competing visions in deciding whether a lower court justice was right to side with the government.
Most of the arguments before the Ontario Court of Appeal are highly technical — essentially turning on whether the Federal Court that quashed Almrei's national security certificate decided once and for all the issues now at play in his civil suit.
Almrei, 38, of Mississauga, Ont., came to Canada in 1999 and was granted refugee status in 2000. He spent almost eight years in custody or house arrest as a security threat until Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley set aside the designation in December 2009 after a 38-day trial.
Mosley found no evidence he had ever been a member of al Qaida, and that the government relied on outdated information against him some of which might have been obtained through torture.