Kevin Rollason, Winnipeg Free Press, July 3, 2009
He’s been branded a danger to girls under the age of 18.
But despite the threat convicted sex offender Farid Noedost still poses, he is now allowed to walk free instead of being deported to his native Iran. The decision to release Noedost on parole instead of deporting him came after the Immigration and Refugee Board agreed his fears of being killed in Iran are valid.
But Michael McPhelan of the Immigration and Refugee Board, who ordered Noedost to be released from custody on conditions after a hearing on Thursday, said he wasn’t convinced the man will not reoffend.
“I have concerns that you are dangerous to the public in Canada,” McPhelan said via video conference from Vancouver to a Winnipeg courtroom.
“The way you have conducted yourself in Canada is despicable. You are a danger to girls under 18.”
In agreeing with immigration officials, McPhelan said, “The need to protect the Canadian public is outweighed by the risk you face in your country of origin.”
He ordered Noedost to follow his current parole conditions, which include not being around female minors and meeting with a parole officer weekly, and added requirements for him to meet with immigration officials monthly and to notify them if he changes his address or job.
The public is not normally notified of a sex offender’s whereabouts while he is on probation, but must rely on probation officials to monitor him.
Noedost shouldn’t be able to walk out of prison and have his safety put ahead of the safety of Canadians he’ll be living among, provincial justice critic Kelvin Goertzen said in response to the board’s decision. “It’s disturbing and most people will be disturbed by it.”
Goertzen said if immigration officials think there is an imminent threat to Noedost in Iran, he should “at the very least, still be incarcerated,” and be deported when the threat no longer exists.
“There is recognition that he still poses a threat to (Canadian) society.”
Noedost was sentenced to three years in prison in December 2007 for possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and given a three-year suspended sentence and probation for a sexual assault conviction in April 2008.
Noedost was arrested in 2006 after two girls, aged 16 and 15, said they were abused by the man on three occasions after passing out from drugs and alcohol.
Earlier this week, Noedost was taken into custody by immigration authorities after being released on parole from Stony Mountain Correctional Institution.
Noedost was slated for mandatory deportation because his sentence was a federal term of more than two years.
But Thursday’s hearing was held after concerns arose for Noedost’s safety in Iran. He has a warrant for his arrest after escaping from Iran years ago and he has become a Christian since incarcerated. Noedost came to Canada years ago as a refugee. Details of his refugee status are protected because of privacy concerns, but he was granted permanent resident status in 2001.