Case Law Database

Smuggling of migrants


• Enabling illegal entry
• Procuring, providing or possessing a fraudulent travel or identity document in connection with migrant smuggling

R. v. Dhalla

Fact Summary

This case involves an attempt to smuggle a 9-year old Indian boy into Canada. The case was apprehended at Toronto airport on 24 November 2004 when the accused, a 51 year old Tanzanian male, arrived with the boy who was coached to provide a false name and presented a forged passport to Canadian immigration officials. The accused later stated that he had been lured into this scheme by another man. The boy was initially believed to be an orphaned, but it was later revealed that his parents had left for the United States and were living in Kansas. The accused was later charged and convicted for his role in this venture. The prosecution unsuccessfully sought to appeal against the sentence.

The accused was a Tanzanian national who stated that he had travelled to India to find a woman to marry. He ended up in a 'compromising situation' that led him to become involved in this attempt to smuggle an Indian boy into Canada. The accused stated that another man by the name of Motara was the main instigator of this venture.

The accused the smuggled child, a nine year old Indian boy, were apprehended when they tried to enter Canada at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The boy had been coached to provide a false name and presented a forged Tanzanian passport in order to gain entry into Canada.

It is not known whether the accused obtained or sought to obtain any financial advantage from this venture.

Commentary and Significant Features

This is a very atypical case of migrant smuggling and the circumstances of the case raise suspicions that the case may be better classified as one of child trafficking. Further information about the circumstances of the smuggled boy and the role and relationship of the accused were, however, not available at the time of writing.

Cross-Cutting Issues


... for

• completed offence

... as involves

• principal offender(s)
• participant, facilitator, accessory



• occurred across one (or more) international borders (transnationally)

Procedural Information

Legal System:
Common Law
Proceeding #1:
  • Stage:
    first trial
  • Decision Date:
    29 May 2006


    Court Title

    Ontario Court of Justice



  • City/Town:
  • Province:
  • • Criminal


    In this trial, the accused was found guilty for charges under s 126 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act 2001. He was sentenced on 29 May 2006.






    5000 CAD


    The trial judge in his reasons for sentence, took into consideration both the nature and gravity of the offence as well as the antecedence and particular circumstances of the accused.

    Proceeding #2:
  • Stage:
  • Official Case Reference:
    R v Dhalla [2007] CarswellOnt 2095 (2 April 2007)
  • Court

    Court Title

    Ontario Superior Court of Justice



  • Province:
  • • Criminal


    The Attorney-General of Canada sought to appeal the sentence against Mr Dhalla, arguing that the sentence was manifestly unfit in this case and that a custodial sentence was required.

    The court rejected the appeal and confirmed the sentence of the first trial.



    1 boy

    It was initially believed that the child was an orphaned, but it was later revealed that his parents had left India for the United States and were living in Kansas at the time their son arrived in Toronto, Canada.

    Defendants / Respondents in the first instance

    Number of other accused:
    Shamsh Dhalla

    The accused initially travelled from Tanzania to India to find a woman to marry. He claimed that he had been lured to India with the promise to find 'an attractive later'. Once in India, he was placed in a 'compromising position' which led him to agree to smuggle the boy into Canada.

    Mr Dhalla ran a clothing business in Tanzania. At the time of offending, he was a widower with one child. He had a minor conviction for common assault from 1980.

    Mr Dhalla stated that a man by the name of Motara in India was the main instigator of this venture.

    Charges / Claims / Decisions

    Shamsh Dhalla
    Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27section 126 - Contravention of Act


    Ontario Court of Justice

    Sources / Citations

    R v Dhalla [2007] CanLII 11719; CarswellOnt 2095 (2 April 2007)