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Kelowna  

Canada has been unable to deport a former Kelowna criminal

Can't deport violent offender

Ten years after he was issued a deportation order, a former Kelowna resident remains in the country and has continued to commit crimes. But the country Canada says he came from doesn't appear to want him.

Steven Kollie was sentenced to five years in jail in 2016 for a “savage” sucker punch outside of Kelowna's Sapphire Nightclub in September 2014 that left the much smaller victim in a coma with a fractured skull. The “quarterback” of the attack recently lost his appeal of the conviction.

But five years before the aggravated assault took place, the Canadian Border Services Agency deemed Kollie, who moved to Canada as a refugee from Liberia when he was 10 years old, inadmissible in Canada, due to his criminality. This stemmed from a 2006 assault conviction in Edmonton, where he brutally assaulted a woman he had met that same night.

In 2011, Kollie's appeal of the deportation order was dismissed.

“The protection of the health and safety of Canadians is a chief concern in this case and I do not believe that the appellant can control his rage, nor does he have a history of complying with conditions of court orders,” Lynne Cunningham of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada tribunal wrote in her dismissal of Kollie's appeal. “His likelihood of re-offending has been demonstrated by his continual defiance of criminal law.”

Despite the order, Kollie remained in the country. He was handed a four-year sentence for a 2011 robbery in Edmonton, and upon his release, Liberian officials decided Kollie was not in fact a Liberian citizen, and they wouldn't take him. Kollie has told the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada that he was in fact born on a boat while his mother fled war-torn Liberia, but in a sworn affidavit, he's also claimed to have been born in Monrovia, Liberia.

Shortly after Liberia refused his deportation, Kollie committed the Kelowna assault in September 2014. Today, his record now includes 30 convictions, including several violent assaults.

While serving his sentence for the Kelowna assault, he was transferred to four different institutions, convicted of institutional assaults, found in possession of a “24-inch stabbing weapon” and was found to be “running a high-level drug operation within the institution,” according to the IRB. Kollie says he has turned his life around after a near-death experience in prison, when he was stabbed 14 times in May 2017.

After serving two-thirds of his sentence, he was released on parole in June 2018, but he was immediately taken into custody by the CBSA, pending their attempts to once again deport him to Liberia. 

Throughout his six 2018 IRB detention review hearings, Kollie repeatedly told the IRB he wanted to get his life back on his track so he could be there for his wife and four children.

“I have known nowhere else but Canada. I grew up here. I don't know nothing else,” Kollie told the IRB in September 2018. “It's scary to hear this foreign country that they're trying to send me to. All I know is here.”

In October 2018, Liberia once again told the CBSA Kollie was not a Liberian citizen, and refused his deportation. As a result, Kollie was released on parole to a residential treatment facility, where he was required to remain until July 2019.

On Aug. 11, 2019, Kollie was once again arrested in Burnaby and charged with assault causing bodily harm, uttering threats and theft under $5,000, according to court records. He appears to have quickly struck a plea deal with the Crown prosecutor, who dropped the assault and threat charges in exchange for a guilty plea on the theft charge. On Sept. 30, Kollie was handed a one-day sentence, along with 16 months of probation.



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