A former Hells Angels associate who was facing deportation to the U.K. has won a stay of the order over concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
David Roger Revell, who has lived in Canada most of his life but has never applied for citizenship here and remains a British citizen, was ordered deported after his conviction for assault in a domestic violence case led to a review of his permanent resident status.
His lawyers told the Federal Court of Canada that the U.K. has been one of the countries most affected by COVID-19 and, due to a quarantine order, he would have to self-isolate for at least 14 days upon arrival in the U.K. or face a fine.
They claimed that Revell, 56, simply didn’t have the funds to pay for a hotel or food and had no family or other support system in the U.K.
In his ruling on the case, Justice Michel Shore said that in the context of the issues involved, he would be hard-pressed not to find concerns over the pandemic to be sufficient to tip the scale in favour of the stay application by Revell, who currently lives in Alberta where he has worked in the oil industry after growing up in Kelowna where he raised his family and ran several businesses.
“It is one thing to establish oneself in a country that the applicant does not know, it is quite another to do so when the world has been turned upside down by COVID-19,” said the judge. “This context would most certainly lead to grave peril for the applicant and, perhaps, others in his midst, if his quarantine is not respected due to such proposed air travel and way stations where he may find himself.”
The judge said if Revell is deported at this time he’d suffer “irreparable harm,” adding that he does not appear to be an imminent danger to the public in Canada or to be a flight risk.
“Clearly, the personal harm that would be inflicted upon him if he is removed to the U.K. far outweighs any public interest that might be involved in his removal from Canada at this time, recognizing the immediately current statistics of COVID-19 cases in the U.K. and number of fatalities,” the judge said.
The ruling was posted on the court’s website Monday after being given out orally in court on June 19.
Revell, who came to Canada in 1974 at age 10, was a Hells Angels associate living in Kelowna when he was arrested on drug charges after the 2005 E-Pandora investigation into the East End chapter of the notorious biker gang.
In 2008 he was convicted of trafficking in cocaine and sentenced to five years in prison but was acquitted of working for a criminal organization.
After his conviction, the Canada Border Services Agency issued a warning letter regarding the impact of his criminal record on a possible immigration admissibility hearing but the letter was never sent.
But after he pleaded guilty in 2013 to the assault charges, which were unrelated to the trafficking case, the matter was referred to a hearing and he was ultimately ordered deported.