Tamil migrants arrived in B.C. aboard the MV Sun Sea in August 2010. Image credit: Handout file photo.

Four-year sentence for man who smuggled Tamil migrants to Canada aboard MV Sun Sea

Christhurajah will walk free after spending seven years behind bars awaiting trial

A Sri Lankan man found guilty of smuggling Tamil migrants to Canada has walked free after receiving a four-year prison sentence.

Kunarobinson Christhurajah smiled as a British Columbia Supreme Court judge asked him to stand after announcing his sentence, saying the man won’t be serving any more time beyond the seven years he has spent behind bars awaiting trial.

Justice Catherine Wedge says Christhurajah was himself an asylum seeker aboard the MV Sun Sea, which was intercepted on B.C.’s coast in August 2010 with 492 passengers aboard after they’d left Thailand six weeks earlier.

Wedge cited a previous case in which three Chinese men were sentenced to four years in prison as part of an organized-crime-group that brought 190 illegal migrants to the West Coast in 1999.

Unlike in that case, Wedge says Christhurajah was not a mastermind or a leader and that he and his family experienced the same conditions as the other passengers.

A mistrial was declared in Christhurajah’s first trial in January when a jury failed to reach a verdict, but he was found guilty by another jury in May.

The Canadian Press