The family of a man struck and killed by a car say they are upset that the man charged in the death of their son will be allowed to travel to Egypt.
Brampton court Justice Bruce Durno has granted Mohamad Al-Kassem permission to attend a family wedding in Egypt this month.
Al-Kassem, 26, who is out on bail, is charged with manslaughter in the death of Ronald Persaud. The 28-year-old was run down outside a Mississauga condominium complex in December 2009. Al-Kassem is also facing charges of criminal negligence causing death and failing to remain at the scene of a crash.
Ronald Persaud’s father, Dennis, said Tuesday he fears Al-Kassem won’t return to Canada once he arrives in the Middle East.
“It’s not right,” said Dennis Persaud, adding someone accused of manslaughter shouldn’t be allowed to “go to a wedding to enjoy yourself when you’re on these kinds of charges. What country is this?”
Attempts to reach Al-Kassem were unsuccessful Tuesday night, although his lawyer, David Bayliss, told the Mississauga News it was nonsense that his client would not return from Egypt.
“I guarantee you he is going to be back,” he said. “Why would someone who wants to split seek the court’s permission to leave the country? He’s out on bail, has no criminal record and is asking to attend a wedding in his parents’ birthplace. There’s no story.”
Bayliss then accused the victim’s family of being on a “witch hunt” against his client.
Aurel Braun, an international law specialist from the University of Toronto, called the decision “rather unusual.”
“If you are going to allow anyone who’s up on a charge of manslaughter to leave the country on the grounds that they will come back, it’s risky,” said Braun, who added that he does not know the specifics of this particular case.
“If that person chooses not to come back, you have to go through an extradition procedure and an extradition procedure’s always difficult.”
Canada and Egypt do not have an extradition treaty, although any country can volunteer to extradite a person.
In the case of Egypt, said Braun, it would be especially problematic because that country is not highly regarded as a respecter of the rule of law and the judicial system is quite corrupt and politically influenced.
Al-Kassem’s trial is scheduled to begin next winter. A spokesperson for the attorney general did not respond to a query Tuesday about whether the Crown would be appealing Justice Durno’s decision.
Peel Regional Police have said Persaud and another man were fighting just before he was killed.