Canadian Judge Refuses to Extradite Defendant to the U.S.

As Adeyemi Alfred-Adekeye learned, you don’t mess with Cisco Systems Inc. And as Cisco learned, albeit a little late, you don’t mess with the Canadian judiciary.

The tangled story, told in full in the latest judgment [PDF] and glossed in the ars technica article, goes like this in brief:

Adekeye, a British citizen, originally worked for Cisco in England but was transferred to the United States. He subsequently left their employ and started his own concern, altering his visa status consequently. After travelling to Europe at one point, he was refused a visa for reentry into the US for employment purposes. Although he was able to visit the US on short-term visas a number of times, at one point the bureaucratic tangle resulted in his being unable to enter the US at all, and he remained in Vancouver. Multiven, a corporation with which Adekeye was associated, sued Cisco for monopolistic business practices; Cisco countersued and, among other things, alleged that Adekeye had wrongfully accessed a Cisco computer a number of times for which breaches they claimed an amount “over $14,000.” Not satisfied with this civil suit, Cisco complained to the US Secret Service that Adekeye’s conduct amounted to theft of trade secrets, with the upshot that 97 counts of criminal charges were laid and an arrest warrant for Adekeye was issued. The parties to the civil suit attempted to arrange depositions, and, in particular, to depose Adekeye; he was not, however, allowed entry into the US for that purpose, so arrangements were made to depose him in Vancouver. During the course of that deposition, the RCMP, acting on a “provisional warrant” obtained in extradition proceedings, arrested Adekeye. The most recent judgment by the Supreme Court of British Columbia stayed the extradition proceedings and delivered a number of withering criticisms of the conduct of Cisco and the authorities.

Justice McKinnon reserved perhaps his strongest language for his criticism of Adekeye’s arrest:

    [26] A Corporal Deanna Draffin of the RCMP provided an affidavit setting out information respecting the applicant, the basis for the criminal complaint, and her belief that he would be leaving Canada imminently. Based upon that material, Mr. Justice Leask issued a “provisional warrant”.

    [27] Shortly after 5:00 p.m. on May 20, Mr. Adekeye was arrested during the course of his deposition at the Wedgewood Hotel. I viewed a video clip of the arrest, which I am bound to say was shocking. The most charitable characterization I can place on it was that Corporal Draflin was not aware that she was interrupting a legal proceeding. l heard her announce to all present at the deposition that she was going to have to “interrupt this meeting“. Her actions could be compared to entering a courtroom and arresting a person during the course of his or her testimony. It is simply not done in a civilized jurisdiction that is bound by the rule of law.

But Justice McKinnon distributed his scorn evenly, referring to the behaviour of US immigration authorities as “astounding,” and saying of the general situation:

    [39] Thus, we have a man who has no criminal record, who has made every possible effort to comply with United States immigration laws and procedures, but who dared to take on a multinational giant, rewarded with criminal charges that have been so grotesquely inflated as to make the average, well-informed member of the public blanche at the audacity of it all.

As the article in ars technica observes, this is only the fifth time in the last decade that a Canadian court has refused an US request for extradition because of abuse of process.

A final sidenote: the judgment is not available in CanLII and appears not to be available in either of the big commercial databases or on the BC Supreme Court website. It was delivered orally in chambers, which likely explains the absence from the databases. It’s interesting, however, that significant rulings never make it into the publishing process unless the parties do it on their own.

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Comments

  1. Simon,

    CanLII has told me they rely, primarily, on the various courts to send the reasons. Why reasons don’t get sent, sometimes, is a puzzle.

    We need to be careful about throwing stones. It’s not just the US border services agency which sometimes acts like a law unto itself.

    Canada’s has been known to … stray.