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

Port Hardy Mounties help First Nation chief build smokehouse

‘We have great maya’xala for all the community members, in each of the communities…’

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Access to remote Side Bay beach up in the bureaucratic air

Roads to the pristine north west coast Vancouver Island beach at risk of being deactivated

Mount Cain planning a modified winter season for north Island ski and snowboarders

Skiing is a COVID-friendly activity, but shared public spaces require adjustment

Remote B.C. tourism lodge staffed for coastal clean up instead of wilderness tours

The Great Bear Rainforest is home to exotic wildlife — and international trash

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read