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

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

Just Posted

Man arrested after speeding to Victoria court date for driving offence

West Shore RCMP remind drivers to be mindful of construction zones

UPDATED: Driver faces charges after crash at Blanshard and Saanich

Lanes closed Monday afternoon, one person taken to hospital

Lamborghini driver slapped with nearly $1,000 in fines while speeding in Central Saanich

Vehicle impounded by Central Saanich police, 11 points issued

West Shore RCMP arrives just in time thanks to tip

Officers remind of resources after mental health call Monday morning

Victoria police seek suspects in series of bear spray attacks

Police responded to several calls Saturday evening

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

Shawnigan Lake’s Kubica gets 25 to life for murder in California

Former Shawnigan Lake man convicted of killing woman in 1990

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Pedestrian dies in motor vehicle incident along the highway near Nanaimo Airport

Police investigating scene where 37-year-old woman from Nanaimo died

Police seek help in naming Cowichan farm stand theft suspect

Video captured man prying cash box out of stand on Norcross Road

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Duration of Tour de Rock stop in Chemainus much shorter than usual

Four alumni riders don’t get to come for breakfast in COVID year

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Most Read