Edmonton business owner convicted on immigration charges denied chance to appeal

An Edmonton business owner convicted of charges under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act will not be allowed to appeal his case. 

Bujar Rushiti was seeking to appeal his June 2018 charges, saying he was not given proper legal counsel before pleading guilty. 

An appeal is supposed to be filed within a month of conviction, but Rushit’s lawyer argued that circumstances, such as the amount of time it took to access legal counsel and disclosure, should warrant an exception.

In a decision released Thursday, Justice Kevin Feehan denied Rushiti’s application to extend time to appeal, noting the lengthy period between conviction and appeal.

Feehan also said that Rushiti’s chance of success at appeal is “at best weak.”

“He cannot demonstrate how he was uninformed as to legally relevant consequences or that his pleas were involuntary,” Feehan wrote in his decision.

Feehan added that Rushiti “would be better served by seeking further relaxation of his conditional sentence order or a record suspension for his offences, or both.”

Rushiti, 39, was convicted in June 2018 of communicating false information to induce immigration and providing wages that were substantially less favourable than offered.

Rushiti was sentenced to a two-year conditional sentence in the community in 2018.

In a signed affidavit, Rushiti said the offences were in relation to the employment of six temporary foreign workers who arrived from Kosovo in May 2013. 

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