In 2011, Calgary immigration lawyer Bjorn Harsanyi assisted the applicant "G" who had made a refugee claim in Canada but his claim was rejected by the Refugee Protection Division. In brief, "G" was an orphaned youngster in Guatemala, where he was persistently approached by gangs to become a druge courier. The refusal led to threats, which were subsequently followed by the murder of his grandmother with whom he lived. He was further approached and threatened regarding the same proposition.
The Federal Court held that the RPD erred by characterizing the approaches of the gangs as a mere recruitment efforts. The death of his grandmother was also perversely declared as “incidental”. The RPD also mischaracterized letters supporting the applicant’s facts, by making no reference to the size or reach of the gang which was approaching the applicant.
The personalized risk that the applicant faced superseded that which could be called generalized risk, even in an area where gang violence is common. The risk faced by the applicant was not criminality itself, such as trafficking, but the violence that a gang was ready to commit against him.
The mischaracterization of the actual risks faced by the applicant led to a inadequate analysis and a decision that could not be supported. The matter was sent back to be reconsidered by a differently constituted board.