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Rufa Denied Entry To Country To Attend Court Matters

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Bruno Rufa (right) and his lawyer, Fred Smith QC, at an earlier hearing. Photo: Denise Maycock/Tribune Staff

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

FRED Smith, QC, yesterday criticised the Bahamas Immigration Department for refusing to allow his client, Canadian Bruno Rufa, entry to The Bahamas to attend scheduled legal matters in Nassau and Freeport.

“This is disgraceful behaviour (of the Immigation Department) and it brings the reputation of The Bahamas into international disrepute,” said Mr Smith. “A person is entitled to attend court for his trial and hearings, and Mr Rufa is being denied his constitutional right to a fair hearing because the government is refusing to allow him into the country.”

Mr Rufa was scheduled to appear on Monday in the Court of Appeal for his appeal against the decision of Justice Petra Hanna Weekes in relation to the judicial review case Rufa had won against the Director of Immigration. Because he was not present in court for his hearing, the case was adjourned to May.

“Unfortunately, Mr Rufa was not in court today because although we have written to the Director of immigration asking for Mr Rufa to enter The Bahamas, they have previously refused,” Mr Smith said.

According to Mr Smith, attempts were made in Freeport by attorney Carey Leonard, of Callenders and Co, who went to the Immigration Department and had also made several calls to try to get permission for Mr Rufa.

Mr Smith said: “Up to the time of the hearing Monday morning we had received no answer from Immigration.”

The QC has accused Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell and the Immigration Department of making “a mockery of the rule of law in The Bahamas” by government’s denying Rufa his constitutional rights to a fair hearing by refusing to allow him into the country.

“Today’s appeal has been adjourned up to May, and the government’s counsel Mr Loren Klein undertook to attempt to persuade his client to permit Mr Rufa to be able to enter for his cases,” he said.

Mr Rufa , who is a second homeowner in Freeport, is also scheduled to appear in the Freeport Magistrate’s Court on Thursday for continuation of his criminal trial in connection with charges brought by the Department of Immigration.

In January, 2015, the Canadian was arrested by Immigration officers and charged for allegedly working in The Bahamas without a work permit. Mr Rufa owns a unit at Coral Beach Condominiums and has resided in The Bahamas for the past 20 years.

“What makes this absolutely perverse is that the Immigration Department has actually charged Mr Rufa criminally with working without a work permit. He is on bail and has appeared several times in the Magistrate’s Court, and the trial is supposed to continue on February 23.

“Again, we have written for permission and they have not given permission for him to come in. This again makes a mockery of the presumption of innocence. And it is so perverse they charged him with an offence and won’t allow him to come into country for the trial.

“We do hope a clear message will go to Minister Mitchell and the Immigration Department to let Rufa in so that he can attend court for his Court of Appeal case and the criminal trial,” Mr Smith said.

Comments

birdiestrachan 5 years, 2 months ago

The outspoken QC has and continues to do all that he can to damage the reputation of the Bahamas and to bring the Bahamas into International disrepute. What else is new/////. we heard the tapes.

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licks2 5 years, 2 months ago

No no no. . .Mr. Mitchell seems to be the one doing so. . .the government will be taken to court again. . .and made to eat crow again. . .what stupidity!

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proudloudandfnm 5 years, 2 months ago

Why would immigration do this? Obviously they broke the law, the man must be allowed to attend court... damn... this is just antagonistic bull....

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bluesky 5 years, 2 months ago

The problem is, Bruno Rufa is suing any and everybody so he could continue coming to the Bahamas. He has ten court matters pending and still threatening to sue more people. He will be here forever, through the courts, if Immigration don't stop him. At a recent meeting held at Coral Beach, Fred Smith told the owners that they have a moral and legal obligation to pay Bruno Rufa's legal fees. Many owners are rebelling and refused to pay.The Outspoken QC threatened to sue the owners if they don't pay. Bruno Rufa was forced to resign as President of the Association for skullduggery.

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Tarzan 5 years, 2 months ago

So the guy is charged with a criminal offense and he is not to be permitted into the country to defend himself in court and you suggest this is a necessary course of action to protect Bahamian immigration laws? Maybe more than cruise ships are moving to Cuba.

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sealice 5 years, 2 months ago

apparently all the "sense" left in the Bahamas quite some time ago.....

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bluesky 5 years, 2 months ago

If Immigration did in-fact refused to allow Bruno Rufa entry into the country to attend his criminal matter, all Fred Smith has to do is ask the judge to dismiss the case against his client, on the grounds that he is being refused entry into the country. The onus will be on Immigration to convince the judge as to why the case should not be dismissed.

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