Canada briefs – February 11

Tammy Marquardt tenderly hugged her five-month-old daughter on Thursday minutes after Ontario’s top court granted her a new trial in the death of her toddler 17 years ago.

Ontario mom gets new trial

TORONTO — Tammy Marquardt tenderly hugged her five-month-old daughter on Thursday minutes after Ontario’s top court granted her a new trial in the death of her toddler 17 years ago.

Then, stepping into the sunshine, Marquardt said it was “torture” being labelled a child killer on the strength of expert evidence from now-disgraced pathologist, Charles Smith.

“Try having your heart ripped out and someone squeezing it right in front of your face,” Marquardt said.

“Finally, the nightmare is coming to an end and I’m waking up.”

It took the Ontario Court of Appeal just five minutes to conclude the 38-year-old mother had been the victim of a miscarriage of justice and quash her second-degree murder conviction.

In doing so, Justice Marc Rosenberg said the court recognized that Marquardt had been through a “terrible” ordeal.

“There are no real words for it. It’s just a lot of pain and hurt that cannot be fixed,” Marquardt said later.

Masked Chinese migrant released

VANCOUVER — A Chinese man who entered Canada disguised in a mask as an old Caucasian man was ordered released after more than three months of being detained.

Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator Anita Merai-Schwartz ordered the migrant released Thursday on condition he post a $5,000 bond and report weekly to the Canada Border Services Agency.

In coming to the decision to release the migrant, Merai-Schwartz said that he paid for entering Canada using money from his parents.

“Eight individuals apparently associated with this operation have been arrested in Hong Kong. Thus I do make the finding that in this regard you did use a human smuggling operation to get to Canada,” Merai-Schwartz said. The migrant’s identity is protected by a publication ban.

Top court upholds secrecy law

TORONTO — Allowing a criminal to walk free is a “lesser evil” than disclosing top-secret national security information, the Supreme Court of Canada held Thursday in a ruling stemming from the Toronto 18 terrorism case.

The court was asked to rule on the constitutionality of parts of the Canada Evidence Act, which give the Federal Court — and not the trial judge — authority to decide what material can be kept secret if national security is at stake.

In upholding the law, the court said Thursday the provisions sometimes force the choice between protecting national security and prosecuting crimes.