American citizen and Smuggler’s Inn owner, Robert Joseph Boule, will have his legal fees paid for by the Canadian government.
Boule, who is facing 21 charges related to smuggling seven illegal migrants into Canada through his Blaine, Washington property, will stand trial from January 13 to February 15, 2020.
After preliminary hearings, the 69-year-old has been released on $15,000 bail and is allowed to return to his home in the United States, although he reports to a bail supervisor in Canada twice a month.
Despite being able to afford bail through donations and contributions from members of his community, Boule filed a “Rowbotham application” with the B.C. Supreme Court to have his legal fees covered by Canada. In a rare circumstance the application was approved by the presiding judge.
The crown is seeking to prosecute Boule under Canada’s Criminal Code and Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which prohibits anybody from “aiding and abetting” somebody’s illegal entry into Canada.
According to court proceedings, the smuggling took place through his bed and breakfast business which is located directly on the border with Canada.
As reported on by True North, the unguarded border which is separated only by a ditch sees several people cross into Canada illegally every month.
Boule has been ordered by the court to remove all references to a phone number for his business off the internet as well as put up a sign intended on dissuading migrants from crossing into the country through his property.
However according to Boule’s neighbours, migrants continue to pass through the area and are even picked up by taxi cabs or family members waiting on the other side despite the presence of RCMP patrolling the area.