James Louis Whittlesey faces multiple severe charges in the US if deported.
03 February 2012
Canadian immigration authorities postpone bank robber’s deportation
Canadian immigration authorities have given a suspected bank robber less than 30 days to obtain a suitable lawyer before facing deportation to the US on multiple charges of armed robbery and a further charge of attempted capital murder of a police officer.
James Louis Whittlesey, 51, was apprehended in Montreal in December 2011 after an extensive manhunt. Whittlesey appeared before an official Canadian immigration board where he was declared unfit to remain in the country as a foreign national and informed that he has until 1 March to locate a lawyer before possibly being deported to the US to face his charges.
Whittlesey, of Maryland, is the prime suspect in the robbery of the United Bank in Winchester, Virginia on 14 October, 2011 during which shots were fired from an automatic pistol towards police officers. He is also wanted for his suspected involvement in multiple other armed robberies across Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Whittlesey had asked for the deportation proceedings to be postponed as he had "been making efforts to secure counsel but has not succeeded in finding one," according to Robert Gervais, senior communications adviser to the agency.
The Immigration and Refugee Board granted Whittlesey a delay as it believed he had demonstrated genuine efforts to find a lawyer but informed him that, given that this was the fourth such postponement, the matter would proceed on 1 March regardless of whether he had secured suitable representation.
"It was explained to Mr Whittlesey that barring any extreme circumstances, the matter would proceed at the next sitting with or without counsel," concluded Mr Gervais.
If deported to the US, Whittlesey will be prosecuted in the Western District of Virginia by the United States Attorney's Office.
The Canadian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people make their Canada visa application to the Canadian Embassy.