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Kelowna  

Puncher faced deportation

A man who was recently sentenced to five years behind bars for a “savage” sucker punch in Kelowna in September 2014 had been issued a deportation order from Canada five years before the attack took place.

Steven Edward Kollie was sentenced to a five-year prison sentence last week for an aggravated assault that put a man in a coma and left him with significant brain damage. 

The assault took place outside Sapphire Nightclub in downtown Kelowna after two prior fights between the victim, Michael Martin and Kollie’s friend that night.

As Martin stood outside the club, talking with Kollie’s friend, Kollie came up behind Martin and punched him in the head.

The strike immediately dropped Martin, who hit his head on the concrete.

“He was rushed to the hospital suffering a number of serious injuries, including a skull fracture, internal brain bleed and significant brain injury,” the judge said at the sentencing hearing.

To this day, Martin has significant brain damage and was unable to return to his old work.

“The attack on Mr. Martin, while only a single punch, was savage, unprovoked and clearly pre-meditated,” the judge said. “Mr. Martin was totally defenceless. He never had a chance.”

Kollie was born in Liberia in 1987, coming to Canada as a refugee two years later with his mother, stepfather, sisters and brother. He was granted permanent resident status in 1997.

In Edmonton, Kollie lived an apparent life of crime, amassing 31 convictions.

After serving 22 months in jail for an assault in 2006, a removal order was made against him in 2009, as he was labeled “a permanent resident who is inadmissible to Canada for serious criminality.”

Kollie appealed the order, on the grounds that his three children at the time would suffer if he were deported.

In 2011, his appeal was dismissed.

“I find that the appellant’s choice to continually break the law has negatively impacted the children’s lives by forcing Child and Family Services to seize the children and place them in foster care for a period of two years,” reads the dismissal. “There is no evidence that the children rely on the appellant, either emotionally or financially."

“His likelihood of re-offending has been demonstrated by his continual defiance of criminal law.”

This proved true, as Kollie was sentenced to a four-year sentence for a 2011 robbery in Edmonton, followed by the Kelowna assault.

The Canada Border Services Agency has confirmed that Kollie’s removal order is still in effect, five years after his appeal was dismissed.

“They must serve their sentence before the removal from Canada can take place,” said Bernée Bolton, communications advisor with the CBSA. “While criminal matters take precedence over immigration matters, there can be additional delays between the time a removal order is issued and the day an individual leaves Canada.”

While the CBSA wouldn’t speak to the specifics of Kollie’s case, one of the reasons he is still in the country may be his inability to stay out of trouble.

“A review of his record would indicate that he has been almost continually in custody since 2006,” the sentencing judge said last week.

Incarceration is not cheap in Canada. A Statistics Canada report from 2013/2014 finds that the average annual institutional expenditure for a federal offender is $108,770.

Kollie was given 644 days of credit at time-and-a-half for the time he spent behind bars prior to his sentencing, putting his release date sometime in the summer of 2019.

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