Tamil migrants arrived in B.C. aboard the MV Sun Sea in August 2010. (Handout file photo)

Supreme Court of Canada affirms acquittals in refusing to hear Tamil migrant case

Three men were cleared after MV Sun Sea arrived in B.C. carrying 492 people from Sri Lanka in 2010

The Supreme Court of Canada has effectively upheld the acquittal of three people who were charged with human smuggling after a rickety ship arrived off the coast of B.C. carrying hundreds of Tamil migrants.

In a decision Thursday, the high court turned down the Crown’s application for an appeal hearing in the case.

In August 2010, the Canadian navy intercepted the cargo ship MV Sun Sea carrying 492 people from strife-torn Sri Lanka and escorted it to CFB Esquimalt.

Lesly Emmanuel, Nadarajah Mahendran and Thampeernayagam Rajaratnam were charged with violating the Immigrant and Refugee Protection Act by organizing, inducing, aiding or abetting the illegal entry of people into Canada.

The Crown alleged the men were part of a human-smuggling operation linked to organized crime.

Emmanuel, who captained the ship, testified that he boarded as a passenger, then reluctantly took the helm to avert disaster for the vessel.

The Crown accused Canadian citizens Mahendran and Rajaratnam, who were not aboard the ship, of helping organize the voyage.

Both argued the evidence that led to their identification was seriously flawed.

READ MORE: Self-preservation, not profit behind accused human smugglers actions, lawyer says

The three men were acquitted in early 2017 by a jury in B.C. Supreme Court.

Last June, the B.C. Court of Appeal upheld the verdicts, saying the Crown had not demonstrated a reasonable possibility that any errors committed by the trial judge affected the outcome.

As usual, the Supreme Court gave no reasons for refusing to hear the case.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Immigration

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New MP Taylor Bachrach makes his first trip to Bella Coola

Bachrach said he is keen to get to know his riding and the members of his constituency

Bachrach rejects calls for police action against demonstrators

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP says only way out of crisis is “true nation-to-nation” talks

Nuxalk Nation celebrates first carpentry graduates

11 students graduated from the community’s first carpentry program

Bella Coola leave their mark on All Native Basketball Tournament as they reach Intermediate final

Nuxalk Braves bring home a strong second place finish; three individual awards for Marlon Edgar-Apps

All Native Basketball: Finals matchups start to take shape as title games approach

Two Prince Rupert sides in contention, while two dynasties are on the brink

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Most Read