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

BX Elementary to receive City of Vernon sewer services

Mayor says the school will be required to join the City of Vernon

A Gardener’s Diary: Prepping seedlings in winter

Before planting seedlings, pots must be scrubbed clean

Vernon gallery hosts Art After Dark

Event hosted by the Vernon Public Art Gallery Friday, Feb. 28

Vernon tennis player named Best of BC winner

Sport BC honours Vasek Pospisil for his comeback season after back surgery

Vernon golf course sinks construction on new clubhouse

Owners at The Rise are in a dispute with City of Vernon over tax assessment

51 health professionals send letter to Trudeau, Horgan panning northern B.C. pipeline

They point to studies about the health and climate change risks from pipeline

UPDATE: Firefighter injured in West Kelowna structure fire

West Kelowna fire crews responded to the blaze at 9:53 p.m. Tuesday

Fake meat and a latte? Starbucks adds Beyond Meat in Canada

The Seattle roaster has talked about introducing plant-based patties in the U.S., but has yet to do so

Groundhogs got it wrong: spring isn’t coming soon, Weather Network says

The only part of B.C. to warm up early will be Victoria

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Fire crews battle large blaze in West Kelowna

Reports of multiple structures on fire in the Colleen Road area

From seed to salad: Providing purpose for Okanagan inmates

“I planted every one of these, it makes me feel good, they’re like all my little babies.” - inmate Kim

Most Read