A Sri Lankan man alleged to be the captain of vessel MV Sun Sea on which 492 Tamils tried to enter Canada in 2010 was ordered to be released on bail B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Monday.
Lesly Jana Emmanuel, who was charged in May with human smuggling aboard the MV Sun Sea, is the third of six accused to be released on bail.
The reasons for the decision by B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Austin Cullen cannot be reported due to a publication ban.
Emmanuel is to be released on $45,000 bail. He is not to possess any travel documents that would permit him to leave Canada.
Other bail conditions include that he have no contact with any of his co-accused, or with potential Crown witnesses, and that he possess no weapons.
The accused, wearing red prison-issued clothing, appeared by videolink for the ruling.
In August, two other accused — Nadarajah Mahendran and Thampeernayagam Rajaratnam — were ordered released on bail by the B.C. Supreme Court.
A fourth accused, Kunarobinson Christhurajah, remains in custody.
Thayakaran Markandu, a fifth man charged in the case, is being sought for extradition from France.
The sixth accused, Sathyapavan Aseervatham, was deported last year back to Sri Lanka, which does not have an extradition treaty with Canada.
Human smuggling carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and/or a $1 million fine.
The accused are charged with organizing the smuggling of the Tamils aboard the ocean freighter between August 2009 and Aug. 13, 2010, when the ship arrived in Esquimalt. The passengers had been picked up in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand.
The 492 people aboard the vessel comprised 380 men, 63 women and 49 minors. The next court appearance in the case is Nov. 21 in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. (Source: The Province)