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

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Three projects on the North Coast awarded funding

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Hagensborg Water District purchases new fire truck; prepares for conversion to CCRD

Approximately $1.3 million of the district’s infrastructure grant has been transferred to the CCRD.

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Most Read