The government decided to refer Carlo Fabbiano to an inadmissibility hearing in 2009 — but waited more than four years to tell him about it.
When they did, Fabbiano sought a judicial review, arguing the delay constituted an abuse of process. Justice James O'Reilly agreed and ordered a rare stay of proceedings in December.
"The integrity of our justice system has been compromised," O'Reilly wrote.
"The delay has not only created unfairness and infringed on the integrity of our justice system, it has occasioned serious personal and psychological harm to Mr. Fabbiano and his family."
According to Canada Border Services Agency documents filed in Federal Court, Fabbiano moved from Italy to Canada with his family in 1963, when he was six years old.
Police claim he joined the Hells Angels in 1992 and is believed to have been a member of the Nomads chapter of the gang since 2004.
Fabbiano was convicted of trafficking cocaine in July 1999 and received a one-year conditional sentence.
Fabbiano: RCMP tried to strike deal for citizenship
Fabbiano applied for Canadian citizenship in 2005, but it was never granted. In an affidavit, Fabbiano claims police approached him the following year with a deal.
"I was approached at my home by RCMP officers Eric Boucher and Dave Hall who suggested to me that they could expedite the processing of my Citizenship Application if I provided them with evidence about members of the Hells Angels. I refused to speak to them further," he wrote.
"They chuckled and told me that I would remember their faces for this."
That same year, Fabbiano was told that, as an alleged member of a criminal organization, he might be inadmissible to Canada.
He made submissions on humanitarian and compassionate grounds and heard nothing more.
But behind the scenes, a CBSA officer decided Fabbiano's alleged involvement with the Hells Angels outweighed his personal circumstances.
And in 2009, a delegate of the Minister and Public Safety and Emergency referred him for an admissibility hearing — unbeknownst to Fabbiano until 2013.
Government blames boatloads of Sri Lankan migrants
The government blamed the delay, in part, on the arrival of two boatloads of SriLankan migrants off the west coast of B.C., preoccupying officials in the summers of 2009 and 2010.
Fabbiano said he was "shocked" to find out CBSA still wanted to deport him in 2013.
"I had assumed that there was no longer any interest in proceeding with an admissibility proceeding," he wrote.
"The possibility that I could be deported to Italy, a country that is completely foreign to me, fills me with fear and anxiety."
In his affidavit, Fabbiano said he has been employed as a longshoreman since 2007. He said has three Canadian-born children and doesn't speak or read Italian.
"Removal to Italy would cause my family and me undue and disproportionate hardship. My family would be deprived from their primary breadwinner. I would not be able to continue with my mortgage payments.
"I am very close to all of my children and it would break my heart to be separated from them," he wrote. "I would lose everything that is dear to me."
CBSA said it is appealing the decision. Fabbiano's lawyer did not return a call for comment.
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