Migrants look over the side of the MV Sun Sea after it was escorted into CFB Esquimalt in Colwood, B.C., on Friday, Aug. 13, 2010. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

New trial ordered for man accused of human smuggling in MV Sun Sea case

Ship was the second carrying Sri Lankan asylum seekers to reach B.C. in 2010

The B.C. Appeal Court has ordered a new trial for a Sri Lankan man found guilty of smuggling Tamil migrants to Canada aboard a dilapidated cargo vessel in 2010.

Kunarobinson Christhurajah was convicted two years ago in the B.C. Supreme Court and handed a four-year sentence after almost 500 migrants fleeing the aftermath of war arrived aboard the MV Sun Sea.

Three other men were acquitted.

In his appeal, Christhurajah argued the trial judge incorrectly instructed the jury about the defence of mutual aid, which asks whether he was acting to help fellow asylum seekers and not for financial gain.

In a unanimous decision, the three-member Appeal Court panel said the judge’s instruction made conviction a foregone conclusion and the jury should have been told that if they found Christhurajah’s motivation was financial, the defence of mutual aid wasn’t available.

In a separate ruling, the Appeal Court dismissed the Crown’s appeal of the three acquittals, saying the prosecution didn’t demonstrate that there were errors in the verdicts.

The MV Sun Sea was the second ship of Sri Lankan asylum seekers to reach B.C. in 2010. The Ocean Lady arrived with 76 passengers.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Hundreds turn out for Singh, NDP candidate rally in Penticton

The messaging was clear, NDP “chooses you”

Warning issued after several overdoses in Castlegar

Interior Health says the overdoses appear to be the result of cocaine contaminated with fentanyl.

Son Ranch Timber Co. wins provincial award for woodlot management

The Freer family has been operating the business for nearly 30 years

How local candidates are using Facebook to advertise directly to you

Liberal campaign is the biggest spender on Facebook ads in South Okanangan–West Kootenay

South Okanagan-West Kootenay candidates talk climate change and environment at recent forum

Forum on Tuesday grilled candidates about plan to bring about low carbon emission economy

Greta Thunberg meets with First Nations chief in Fort McMurray

Thunberg has turned her protest against climate change into a global movement

Canucks hang on for 3-2 win over Rangers in New York

Vancouver scores three times in first period

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

ELECTION 2019: Federal leaders hit final 24 hours of campaign

Many leaders remain in B.C. for the final hours of the campaign

Most Read