A judge spent Tuesday looking at covertly-shot video of an immigration judge telling a Korean claimant that he might approve her case if she agrees to a sexual relationship with him.

"Let me see what I can do. I'm going to work on it. I really want to be friends with you," Steven Ellis is heard saying on the tape to Ji-Hye Kim, then 25, on Sept. 26, 2006.

He went on to say that his marriage was terrible and that he needed a girlfriend.

But he also sought discretion from Kim, saying she could also get in trouble -- and invited her to meet him in the coming days for a "celebration" of his approval of her claim.

It was his third unofficial meeting with Kim since July.

Unbeknownst to Ellis, Kim's boyfriend (now husband) Brad Tripp was videotaping the encounter in a downtown Toronto Starbucks. Kim herself was wearing an audio recording device.

The tapes of the encounter were given to both CTV News and the police.

Ellis, who served two terms on the old metro city council, became an Immigration and Refugee Board judge in 2000, having been appointed by the federal Liberal government of the day.

The chair of the Immigration Appeal Board suspended him immediately from the $120,000-per-year position and banned him from IRB property upon hearing the allegations.

Ellis faces the following charges:

  • breach of trust (Criminal Code)
  • knowingly making or issuing a false document or statement, or accepting or agreeing to accept a bribe or other benefit in respect to a refugee application (Immigration and Refugee Protection Act)

The 50-year-old has pleaded not guilty. His trial is in its second day.

With files from The Canadian Press