As far as the federal government is concerned, Victor Morales is a criminal who has already been allowed to stay in Canada far too long. Convicted of 12 offences over six years – from shoplifting to drug trafficking – the Chilean national does not read or write French or English, and has only recently begun to file his taxes, reporting $0 in revenue.

But for his friends and family, gathered Wednesday to attend what could be his final hearing in Federal Court, Morales, 40, who came to Canada as a refugee at age 6, is a good father, and a good son who contributes in other ways – and he deserves a second chance.

They note he has been clean and sober and law-abiding for seven years.

“The convictions are old stories,” said his lawyer, Stewart Istvanffy. “You have to look at all the factors, particularly for someone who has completely turned his life around.”

It is now up to Federal Court Justice André Scott to consider these competing visions of a born-again Christian and métro musician, and grant him a stay of deportation – or not.

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