A criminal trial for Robert Boule (inset), the owner of the Smuggler’s Inn, is to begin in August 2021, following a failed application to strike down immigration-act provisions that he is charged under. (Photo courtesy of The Northern Light newspaper)

A criminal trial for Robert Boule (inset), the owner of the Smuggler’s Inn, is to begin in August 2021, following a failed application to strike down immigration-act provisions that he is charged under. (Photo courtesy of The Northern Light newspaper)

Charter challenge quashed in case of U.S. man accused of human smuggling at his inn

Robert Boule’s criminal trial set to begin August 2021

A constitutional challenge of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act by the Blaine inn owner accused of breaking it has been quashed.

READ MORE: Blaine Inn owner challenging human-smuggling charges

According to reasons for judgment posted online Nov. 30, Robert Boule alleged three sections of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) infringed his Sec. 7 charter rights – the right to life, liberty and security of the person – “because they are overbroad, arbitrary and vague, and they cannot be justified under s.1 of the Charter.”

Boule is the owner of the Smuggler’s Inn, located on the south side of 0 Avenue at 184 Street, on the U.S. side of the border.

Arrested in April 2019, he is accused of helping people illegally enter Canada at the U.S. border, and is facing nine charges under the IRPA, as well as 12 charges under Sec. 145(3) of the Criminal Code for breach of bail.

While Madam Justice Nitya Iyer disagreed that the challenged sections of the IRPA are arbitrary and vague, she concluded that two are “unconstitutionally overbroad.”

She found a third, however, “constitutionally sound,” Public Prosecution Service of Canada spokesperson Nathalie Houle confirmed Tuesday (Dec. 1).

The ruling means “the trial can now proceed on all charges,” Houle continued.

“Mr. Boule’s application failed to strike down the provisions that he is charged under.”

The offences are alleged to have occurred between April 2016 and March 2019.

Boule was initially facing a total of 30 charges, however, nine were stayed in June 2019.

In July of last year, an application by Boule to have the Canadian government fund his defense was granted. The “Rowbotham application” is an option for people “facing serious and complex criminal charges,” who have been denied legal aid and can’t afford a lawyer.

READ MORE: Canadian government to fund defence of Smuggler’s Inn owner

Houle said the criminal trial has been set for Aug. 10 to Sept. 3, 2021.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
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