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October 7, 2003

Pitsu v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2003 FC 1154 (CanLII)

Date: 20031007   Docket: IMM-5386-02   Citation: 2003 FC 1154   Ottawa, Ontario, this 7th day of October, 2003   Present:          THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE O'REILLY     BETWEEN:   IVAN PITSU   Applicant - and -     THE MINISTER OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION   Respondent     REASONS FOR JUDGMENT AND JUDGMENT     [1]                Mr. Ivan Pitsu claims to fear his former employers in Ukraine. He told them he was coming to Canada to study English, but claimed refugee status soon after his arrival here in January 2000. Mr. Pitsu says that his former associates have threatened him because he knows too much about their various corrupt activities and might report them to the authorities. He claims that these persons threatened him and his family, kidnapped his daughter for a day, set fire to his office, and stole his notes chronicling their many illegal activities.   [2]                A panel of the Immigration and Refugee Board dismissed Mr. Pitsu's refugee claim, finding the entire scenario he described to be implausible, and doubting the existence of any ongoing risk. Mr. Pitsu argues that the Board made a serious error in disbelieving his account of events. In particular, he submits that the Board failed to consider documentary evidence tendered in support of his allegations. I cannot find any error in the Board's treatment of Mr. Pitsu's claim and must, therefore, dismiss his application for judicial review.   [3]                The Board cited five reasons for doubting Mr. Pitsu's testimony:  

  1. The Board wondered why Mr. Pitsu did not leave the company when he first found out about its unlawful activities. Mr. Pitsu said he could not leave because he knew too much. At that point, however, his colleagues did not know how much Mr. Pitsu knew. The Board did not understand why he did not leave at the first reasonable opportunity.
  1. The Board did not comprehend why Mr. Pitsu undertook the risk of surreptitiously investigating the company's activities on his own. Mr. Pitsu said that he wanted to put himself in a position where he could threaten disclosure of his information as a means of protecting himself. He also thought the information might help him if criminal proceedings were ever launched against members of the firm. The Board thought the knowledge he gained through his investigations would probably create more danger for him than safety.
  1. Mr. Pitsu did leave the company in November 1999 and returned to his dental practice. Soon after, there was a fire in his office and his investigation notes were stolen. He suspected his former employers were responsible. Yet, the company hired Mr. Pitsu back and supported his visa application to come to Canada. The Board did not understand why the company would treat Mr. Pitsu so kindly if it then knew, based on his notes, that he had been quietly researching its crimes.
  1. After Mr. Pitsu arrived in Canada, he instructed his wife to tell the company that he would not be coming back. She went to the company to retrieve Mr. Pitsu's workbook, so that it could be used to support his refugee claim in Canada. The Board expected that the company would have been enraged by his decision not to return. Yet, company officials cooperated in handing over his workbook.
  1. Mr. Pitsu said that his former employers were duly charged with crimes, prosecuted and eventually released, and now are working elsewhere. Still, he fears retribution if he returns. The Board doubted that his former associates would have any interest in him now given that the matter is closed. Further, it was puzzled why, if he returned, Mr. Pitsu would disclose what he knows about past crimes. It could only put him in danger.
  [4]                Based on all of the foregoing, the Board concluded that Mr. Pitsu was not in need of protection.   [5]                A Board's conclusions about the plausibility of a claimant's story are more susceptible to scrutiny on judicial review than its other credibility findings: Valtchev v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2001 FCT 776 (CanLII), 2001 FCT 776, [2001] F.C.J. No. 1131 (QL) (T.D.) and Divsalar vCanada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2002 FCT 653 (CanLII), 2002 FCT 653, [2002] F.C.J. No. 875 (QL) (T.D.). The Board's conclusions must derive from the evidence before it and must be adequately explained in its reasons.   [6]                Mr. Pitsu argues that the Board's findings cannot stand because it failed to make reference to five types of documentary evidence. The first is an official report of the fire in his office. The second is his workbook, which sets out his record of employment with the company. The third is a series of three summonses addressed to Mr. Pitsu's wife asking her to come to the police station as a witness in an unspecified matter. The fourth is a police report concerning threatening phone calls received by Mr. Pitsu's wife. The fifth is a letter from the police regarding the kidnapping of Mr. Pitsu's daughter; it explains that the perpetrators were unknown.   [7]                The Board did not refer specifically to any of these documents. However, the Board did mention the various events for which the documents provided corroborative evidence. As I read its reasons, it did not disbelieve all of Mr. Pitsu's testimony. It certainly did not say that the events recorded in the documentary evidence did not occur. Rather, it questioned whether the facts before it could be coherently knit together by the account Mr. Pitsu presented. In the end, it found Mr. Pitsu's story unconvincing. In doing so, it reviewed the evidence before it, considered Mr. Pitsu's explanations, outlined the reasons for its doubts, and articulated its conclusions carefully. I can find no fault in the Board's approach. In the circumstances, the Board's failure to refer expressly to certain documents in the record does not diminish the strength of its analysis.   [8]                I must, therefore, dismiss this application for judicial review. Neither party proposed a question of general importance for me to certify and none, therefore, is stated.     JUDGMENT   IT IS HEREBY ADJUDGED that:  
  1.          The application for judicial review is dismissed.
  1.          No question of general importance is stated.
      "James W. O'Reilly" Judge FEDERAL COURT Names of Counsel and Solicitors of Record     DOCKET:                                          IMM-5386-02   STYLE OF CAUSE:                         IVAN PITSU Applicant - and -   THE MINISTER OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION Respondent   PLACE OF HEARING:                   TORONTO, ONTARIO   DATE OF HEARING:                      THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2003   REASONS FOR JUDGMENT AND JUDGMENT BY:                   THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE O'REILLY   DATED:                                             TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2003     APPEARANCES BY:                      Mr. Steven Beiles FOR THE APPLICANT   Mr. Jeremiah Eastman   FOR THE RESPONDENT   SOLICITORS OF RECORD:          Steven Beiles Barrister and Solicitor 150 York Street Suite 800 Toronto, Ontario M5H 3S5 FOR THE APPLICANT   Morris Rosenberg Deputy Attorney General of Canada   FOR THE RESPONDENT

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