U.S. court tosses case against Canadian government by mislabelled B.C. terrorist

U.S. court tosses case against Canadian government

VANCOUVER — A United States court has tossed out a lawsuit that accuses the Canadian government of ruining the life of a British Columbia woman for allegedly giving false information to American authorities that branded her a terrorist and an arms dealer.

In a judgment issued last month, a Washington state district court in Seattle ruled that Perienne de Jaray cannot sue Canada over allegations of malicious prosecution or abuse of process because of an American law that grants immunity to foreign states.

“The Government of Canada defendants are immune under the (Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act) and this court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over them,” said the court in its 17-page ruling, issued Jan. 5.

De Jaray is the former executive vice-president and co-owner of Apex USA, previously a multimillion-dollar subsidiary of electronics maker Apex Canada, which her father launched.

She alleges she suffered years of groundless investigation on both sides of the border after the Canadian government sent information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2009 claiming it had intercepted an illegal shipment of weapons-grade electronics from Apex — which later turned out to be false.

In 2011, the Canadian government ordered that all criminal charges against de Jaray and her father be stayed, and the charges were eventually dismissed.

De Jaray’s father launched a civil lawsuit against the Canadian government later that year for wrongful prosecution. The Canadian government settled the lawsuit in 2013 for an undisclosed amount after admitting in open court to wrongdoing, the U.S. decision summarizes.

De Jaray’s complaint for damages filed last year in a U.S. court accuses the Canadian government of trying to appease the American administration by appearing to crack down on terrorism so it could gain access to lucrative U.S. defence contracts.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and De Jaray has already launched an appeal of the U.S. ruling. The lawsuit named Canada’s attorney general, the Canada Border Services Agency and Global Affairs, as well as several bureaucrats.

None of the parties could be reached for comment, though when asked about the case in December a spokeswoman said the Canadian government does not comment on matters before the court.

The court ruling said there are exceptions to foreign states being immune to prosecution in the American justice system, but that de Jaray and her legal counsel failed to prove that any of those exemptions applied in this case. 

— Follow @gwomand on Twitter

Geordon Omand, The Canadian Press

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