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This article was published 6/10/2011 (3301 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Love isn’t all you need — not if you’re an American who wants to live in Canada with your girlfriend. You need a passport, at least, and it’s best if you don’t have a criminal record.
Defence lawyer Philip Sieklicki said that American Jimmie Lee Thore wasn’t looking for trouble when he sneaked into Canada.
“He indicates that his motivation was, in fact, love,” Sieklicki said.
Thore was charged under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for entering Canada illegally. As he pleaded guilty on Thursday, he faced a maximum sentence of six months in jail and/or a $10,000 fine.
Court heard that a Rivers woman had met Thore in June as she travelled in the United States, and the couple grew close and dreamed of spending the rest of their lives together.
Thore, who most recently lived with family members in the northwestern United States, wanted to move to Canada and marry his girlfriend, but couldn’t get a passport as he was pending on charges out of Kentucky.
Crown attorney Michael Foote said Thore was wanted on a warrant out of Kentucky for possession of a forged cheque and money order. In 1992, he was also convicted in Kentucky of being disorderly while intoxicated, and Foote confirmed that Thore wouldn’t be eligible to enter Canada.
On Sept. 24, his girlfriend pulled up to the Canadian border crossing near Boissevain and told officials that she’d been visiting her boyfriend who’d travelled from Washington state to meet her in Minot, N.D.
She said she’d left him at a store in Bottineau but, in reality, Thore was walking across the border and, even as the girlfriend’s vehicle had pulled up to the border, Canadian border officials received a report of a man walking along a Canadian highway nearby.
Actually, Thore and his girlfriend were already the subject of a “lookout” as the Canadian Border Services Agency had received a tip that the girlfriend might help Thore enter the country illegally.
The girlfriend’s car was searched at the crossing and, even though Thore’s identification was found in the vehicle, she was allowed to go on her way. Border guards, however, notified RCMP of the possible plan to sneak Thore into Canada and told them where he might be picked up.
Indeed, police later stopped a vehicle on the Trans-Canada Highway and found Thore and his girlfriend inside.
Thore, 52, was arrested for failing to report to officials at the border and he admitted to entering Canada illegally.
In court, Sieklicki noted that Thore’s Canadian girlfriend wants to pursue the relationship and Thore still wants to become a Canadian citizen some day.
However, Foote noted that Thore will be removed from Canada, and Judge Shauna Hewitt-Michta predicted that the American has put any effort to return to Canada in jeopardy as she sentenced him to 30 days in jail minus the 12 days he has already spent in custody.
No mention was made of whether the Canadian girlfriend faces any charges.
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