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

‘Best in the country’: Formerly homeless man praises Victoria’s outreach services

Jay W. was living on the streets of downtown Victoria in 2018

City of Victoria plans workshop to determine fate of Sir John A. Macdonald statue

Conversations will happen as part of a reconciliation dialogue series in May 2020

Time-lapse video shows weekend work on McKenzie Interchange project

Construction crews place concrete underpass bridge beams

Years of ‘horrific, violent accidents’ at Thetis Lake prompt plea to public

View Royal fire chief asks for an end to alcohol consumption at busy park

Watchdog group says Saanich council needs a ‘reality check’ about taxes

Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria warns of eroding housing affordability in Saanich

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Police ask for help locating missing men last seen in South Surrey

Jeep that Richard Scurr and Ryan Provencher were in has been located unoccupied in Logan Lake: RCMP

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

Most Read