in Canada? I know most attorneys on here don’t practice in Canada, but I thought an immigration attorney could still help me. My wife and I are Americans. We just got work permits to buy a business in Canada and are in t he process of preparing to move there. Up until recently, we lived in Brussels Belgium due to an employment contract I had there. Two months before permanently leaving Brussels, we were aggressed by a bum. At first the aggression was verbal but when the guy went to hit me, I defended myself by hitting him in the forehead. My wife and baby girl were steps away, so I didn’t hesitate to use self defense. Since the guy was smaller than me, I was careful to not hit too hard, just enough to defend myself. He never fell down, no blood was involved, nothing. We left the scene with him running and screaming after us and went to a police station two steps away to explain what happened. They were completely on my side and said he had looked for trouble and he found it and this probably wouldn’t go further. I told them we were leaving, and gave them our address in the U.S. I just got a letter that he was pressing charges because he claims I broke his nose and he has permanent damage. They set a court date for July. We believe he is looking for money from Americans, but anyway, to not look like the bad guy I quickly paid a local attorney to give my version of the story. Little did I know, the attorney expects me to be present in July. I already spent $1,000 on this lawyer, I am not spending thousands on flying back and getting a hotel for this useless bum. However, my wife is afraid about Canada – we have work permits but we wanted to apply for Permanent Residency after a year of working there. We will have to give police/background records from every country where we have lived, so Belgium is one of them. Will Canada care about this? Wouldn’t they understand if I just explained what happened? I have never been in any trouble in my life in any country. Thanks for your advice.
You need to discuss the matter with an experienced immigration attorney licensed to practice law in Canada. The answer will likely hinge on whether this a criminal complaint or a civil complaint. Assuming it is a criminal complaint and you were immigrating to the United States, this would likely impose an impediment. Your explanation alone would not be sufficient as United States immigration officials would review the record of conviction including the criminal complaint and certificate of disposition. If you do not appear for the court hearing, the only version of events that will likely be considered by the court is the person you claim harassed you. An attorney's statement of what happened is not a substitute for your testimony.Keep in mind that failing to appear could potentially expose you to further criminal charges. I encourage you to discuss the matter further with your attorney in Belgium as well as consult an experienced immigration attorney licensed to practice law in Canada.
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