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The Globe and Mail

Quaids to celebrate Christmas in Vancouver, refugee hearing postponed

Actor Randy Quaid rides an elevator to an Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board hearing in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday November 23, 2010. Quaid said if it wasn't for Canada's refugee system that he and his wife would be dead as he arrived for the hearing. The case has been adjourned until December 22 so his lawyer can review material she's received from the government.

DARRYL DYCK/Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

American actor Randy Quaid will celebrate Christmas in Canada after his refugee case was adjourned until next month.

Mr. Quaid, a former Academy Award nominee for his work in The Last Detail, arrived in Vancouver in October, fleeing what he and his wife have called a "murderous ring" of accountants and other "star whackers" south of the border.

He appeared at an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing Tuesday to assess his admissibility to Canada. His case, however, was adjourned until Dec. 22 after his lawyer asked for more time to review disclosure documents.

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Mr. Quaid's admissibility review now won't be scheduled until after the December hearing is held.

Clean-shaven and wearing a grey suit, the man who appeared in the movie Christmas Vacation told reporters he's happy that he and wife Evi will spend the holidays in the Great White North. "We're looking forward to it. No plans right now," he said.

Mr. Quaid said it won't be his first Christmas in British Columbia, but he's been surprised by the especially chilly Vancouver weather in recent days. The 60-year-old actor, who's also appeared in such films as Brokeback Mountain, Days of Thunder and Independence Day, said he and his partner have enjoyed taking it easy and simply "killing time."

"We've been all over, everywhere. We like going to the parks," he said, moments before slipping into an elevator with his lawyer.

Evi Quaid, wearing all black attire as she sat behind her husband during Tuesday's hearing, said the couple is looking into buying a home in the area.

"We're looking for land. We do want to be here," she said. "So far Canada has kept us very safe and we appreciate it so much."

The Quaids were taken into custody in a posh Vancouver neighbourhood last month because of outstanding U.S. arrest warrants. They had been charged with living illegally in a California guest house they formerly owned. The couple allegedly caused $5,000 damage to the property.

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Their first refugee board hearing resulted in a media circus, complete with claims from the couple that star whackers were responsible for the deaths of actors Heath Ledger and David Carradine. They provided no evidence to support those allegations.

Ms. Quaid's refugee claim was dropped when she learned she has status because her father is Canadian.

Her husband has said he hopes to relaunch his career north of the border.

Catherine Sas, Mr. Quaid's lawyer, told the refugee board Tuesday that she needed more time to ensure her client received a fair opportunity to stay in Canada. She described the amount of disclosure material she's received from the federal government as "voluminous."

"If he is found to have committed those offences [in California] you will have to issue a deportation order, which is a very serious consequence," she told the board's adjudicator. "So, needless to say, we need time to prepare a proper answer and defence to those allegations."

Mr. Quaid's admissibility hearing was originally scheduled for Nov. 9. It was adjourned for two weeks, also because Ms. Sas asked for a postponement. "Criminal defence takes time," she said.

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The Ministry of Public Safety's hearings representative didn't oppose the request for adjournment. The representative has said Mr. Quaid should be inadmissible under a section of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. That section bars foreign nationals who have committed an offence outside Canada that is punishable by a prison term of at least 10 years.

The U.S. arrest warrants for the Quaids remain active. Ms. Sas said a plea of not guilty has been entered in the vandalism case.

The couple previously faced charges for defrauding an innkeeper. That case was resolved in April when Ms. Quaid pleaded no contest to a misdemeanour count. The charges against her husband were dropped.

They do not face any charges in Canada.

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