By William Miller
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America
TORONTO, Canada – Steve Ellis an immigration judge in Canada is on trial for offering to approve a refugee claimant’s application if she would have sex with him. Ji Hye Kim, the refugee claimant said Ellis told her he would only approve her application if she would have an intimate relationship with him at a coffee shop where Kim worked.
Ellis was the adjudicator who reviewed Kim’s application when she applied in 2006. She was seeking asylum to escape her abusive father and creditors who had threatened her in South Korea. While Ellis was adjudicating Kim’s case he approached her at the coffee shop where she worked and asked her if he could meet her privately to discuss her case.
Brad Tripp, now Kim’s husband was suspicious when she told him about the judge’s request. At Tripp’s suggestion, Kim agreed to carry a concealed digital recorder to the meeting. Tripp also filmed her encounter with Ellis from a distance. While testifying at Ellis’s trial, Tripp said “I felt that we needed to record this meeting to protect Ji Hye’s rights to a fair hearing.”
At the meeting Ellis told her that he was going to reject her application but would be willing to reconsider if Kim agreed to have a casual intimate relationship with him. He also told her that he was married and did not want any commitment from her.
Speaking through an interpreter Kim said “Mr. Ellis had the power to decide about my application of refugee claim. I had to kind of decide between the status of my refugee claim and the relationship between Mr. Ellis and me.”
Ellis was a Toronto City Councilor before being appointed to the Immigration and Refugee Board in 2000. He is also a non-practicing attorney. He is currently out on bail and has been suspended from his job at the Immigration and Refugee Board
For more information, please see:
Toronto Star – Boyfriend Devised Plan to Film Refugee Judge – 25 February 2010
AFP – Canadian Judge Accused of Seeking Sex From Refugee – 23 February 2010
Canadian Press – Adjudicator Accused of Sex Bribery Seen on Video Meeting With Refugee Claimant – 23 February 2010