CALGARY - A Canadian immigration adjudicator has ruled the public can't observe the detention review of a landed immigrant from Bosnia who's been the subject of an international manhunt for the past 13 years for murdering two men.
That means the hearing will be held in secret and the public won't know if Elvir Pobric is released or is deported.
Pobric, who lives in Grimsby, Ont., is wanted in Bosnia after escaping from prison where he was serving 20 years for robbing and killing two men in 1992. Court records indicate that Pobric lured two associates, who traded in black market foreign currency, to his mother's home where he shot them in the head with a pistol.
Pobric, who works in Calgary but returns regularly to his family in Ontario, was arrested on a Canada-wide warrant after a hunt by Alberta sheriffs and police in Hamilton, Ont.
Adjudicator Leeann King, who is based in Vancouver, refused the media's request to have his Canada immigration detention review open to the public.
"She gave two orders: she dismissed the application and said not only would the detention review proceed in private but she also said the application hearing and her reasons for decision would be private as well," Melissa Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, said Tuesday.
Reporters argued that any refugee protection claim by a man convicted of two murders was a matter of public interest and should be reported and that it was widely reported that he had come to Canada as a refugee.
A detention hearing is held for foreign nationals or permanent residents if the Canada Border Services Agency has reasonable grounds to believe that the person is unlikely to appear for future hearings, is a danger to the public or is inadmissible to enter or remain in Canada.
In order to remove Pobric from Canada, he would first have to be stripped of his landed immigrant status. The Crown will most likely argue that he misrepresented himself when he entered Canada.
Pobric's family claims the Bosnian was interned along with fellow Bosnian Muslims in Tunjice detention camp in Banja Luka shortly after the outbreak of violence between ethnic Serbs and Bosnians in 1992.
Anderson said the news media would be allowed to argue in favour of the hearing process being open to the public at future hearings.
Hamilton police received information from Interpol that Pobric broke out of a prison in Foca in 1996 and surfaced in Canada in 1999 when he entered the country as a refugee.
He lived in Hamilton for several years before moving to Grimsby with his wife and children. Police say Pobric was a self-employed siding contractor who ran Ontario Custom Aluminum and had worked in Calgary for several years.