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

$10,000 hole-in-one highlights Champion Lakes’ Re/Max Open

Talarsky wins Re/Max Open, but Browell takes home hole-in-one cash prize

Trail COP seeking volunteers

There is no direct interaction; all suspicious or criminal activity is reported to the RCMP

Core funding to boost spending on tourism services for Rossland

Resort Municipalities grants will pay for a public washroom, better signage, and shuttle services

West Trail to get majority of upcoming road repairs

Year One of pavement restoration program underway in Trail

Trail: Before and After

The 80-year old Union Hotel is now completely torn down

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison

Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Thunderstorms forecast across B.C.

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for B.C.’s central Interior

Most Read