Kelowna drug dealer granted one last chance to stay in Canada | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna drug dealer granted one last chance to stay in Canada

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October 28, 2016 - 9:00 PM

KELOWNA - The B.C. Court of Appeal gave a Kelowna man convicted of dealing cocaine in a dial-a-dope operation another chance to avoid being deported back to China.

In a decision released Oct. 26, the court allowed Wing Wha Wong an extension of time to appeal his nine-month jail sentence.

Wong has already served his sentence, but upon release, he was informed by Canada Border Service Agency an immigration hearing was scheduled for his deportation, for which there are no appeals. Wong told the Appeals court he had no idea when he opted to plead guilty, he would face deportation under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

That Act would deport Wong and anyone else convicted of any offence of ‘serious criminality’ — any offence punishable by up to ten years in prison or sentenced to a prison term for longer than six months — as ‘inadmissable’ to Canada.

Wong, 50, was caught selling cocaine to undercover officers in February 2012. An undercover officer called him to arrange to buy cocaine. He offered the officer a discount on a second flap of cocaine, then drove off, followed by police.

His case is also highly unusual because it appears he was selling cocaine at the street level purely for profit. Most street-level traffickers are selling to feed their own habits. Not Wong.

He has been a landed immigrant in Canada since the late 1980s when he left China following that country’s ‘crackdown on the pro-democracy movement,’ his trial judge noted.

Wong told the appeals court he never sought citizenship because after more than 35 years, his ‘English is not good enough’ and that has created the jeopardy he now faces. He is also married and has a child and is the lone source of income.

He was also convicted of an offence from Edmonton in 1994 and was sentenced to just under two years in prison for possession of stolen property. That offence predated the Act that stipulates his deportation.

He argued that his lawyer should have advised him and his sentencing judge that a sentence over six months would have drastic consequences. His lawyer agreed that he never raised it — he had no idea about Wong’s immigration status.

Wong attempted to appeal his conviction, but he offered no evidence he would have made a different decision even if he had known and it was rejected.

The appeals court judges agreed, however, that the matter should have been raised at sentencing before he pleaded guilty. They allowed him more time to appeal the sentence, although that carries no guarantees. While his appeal was allowed, he must still convince a judge that a lighter sentence should be imposed.

A date for his appeal has not yet been set.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Marshall Jones or call 250-718-2724 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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