Media advisory: BC Civil Liberties Association at Supreme Court of Canada in case involving extradition of a Quebec mother

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Ottawa – Tomorrow, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear arguments in M. M. v. Minister of Justice, which concerns a request for extradition by the United States of America. M.M. is a Canadian citizen born in Quebec. She is accused of abducting her children from the United States and fleeing to Canada. M.M. claims that she retrieved her children from Georgia after they ran away from their father, who had allegedly abused them.

At issue in this case is whether the double criminality requirement in extradition proceedings is satisfied. The principle of double criminality ensures that Canadians cannot be deported to face trial in another country for conduct that would not be criminal in Canada.

Canada’s criminal law states that an individual cannot be guilty of child abduction if it was necessary to take the child away in order to protect them “from danger of imminent harm.” No such equivalent statutory defence exists in Georgia, however.

The BCCLA argues that the availability of such defences must be considered by the extradition judge when making the decision to commit an individual to face trial in another country. Consideration of justifications or excuses – such as statutory defences – is necessary to ensure that no person is deprived of liberty without a meaningful judicial process.

The BCCLA is represented by Brent Olthuis and Greg Allen of Hunter Litigation Chambers.

The BCCLA’s argument in this case is available here.


What: Supreme Court of Canada to hear arguments in M. M. v. Minister of Justice

When: Oral arguments will begin on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. (EST) / 6:30 a.m. (PST)

Where: Supreme Court of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario)

Who: Representatives of the BCCLA available for comment



Brent Olthius, lawyer for the BCCLA: (604) 649-7966 (Ottawa)

Carmen Cheung, BCCLA Senior Counsel: (604) 630-9758 (Vancouver)