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'Sun Sea' voyage was a humanitarian service to Tamil migrants

13 January 2017 12:40 pm - 6     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Defence lawyers made their final pitch to the jury at a human-smuggling trial yesterday, arguing their clients provided humanitarian assistance to Sri Lankan Tamils fleeing persecution in a country ravaged by civil war, challenging the Crown’s view that the accused illegally organized the MV Sun Sea’s arrival in Canada, the Globe and Mail reported today.

Kunarobinson Christhurajah, Lesly Emmanuel, Nadarajah Mahendran and Thampeernayagam Rajaratnam have each been charged under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act with organizing the cargo ship’s voyage across the Pacific. The MV Sun Sea docked in B.C. in August, 2010, carrying 492 people – 380 men, 63 women and 49 children. The ship was the second Tamil migrant vessel to arrive in the province in less than a year and drew considerable attention.

The trial for the four men began in B.C. Supreme Court in October and closing arguments started Thursday.

Casey Leggett, the lawyer representing Mr. Christhurajah, reminded the jury it heard from 10 Crown witnesses who were aboard the ship. Mr. Leggett said those witnesses described the horrific violence they had endured in Sri Lanka – one man testified his younger sister was killed when their house was hit by a bomb, another said he was tortured by police and others described fleeing to refugee camps or young men being taken away in white vans and never heard from again.

Mr. Leggett said there is no evidence his client profited financially from the voyage. He said Mr. Christhurajah has been accused of helping passengers find accommodation before the trip and handing out food, among other things. However, Mr. Leggett said dozens of people volunteered and did whatever they could to ensure the MV Sun Sea and its passengers safely made it to Canada.

“My submission is that there is no evidence from which you could draw the conclusion that my client, Mr. Christhurajah, was not acting for a humanitarian purpose,” he said.

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  Comments - 6

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  • Cheers Saturday, 14 January 2017 07:30 AM

    Canadian law and democracy is now beliw pat and funded by the tamil diaspora even canadian lawyers are now very corrupt and this action shows they trying to help the tamil tiger terrorist and refugees who are killers and liars

    ravin Saturday, 14 January 2017 07:55 AM

    " humanitarian assistance to Sri Lankan Tamils " jury must consider firstly the distance between the two countries, and sea route (number of territorial waters they gone through) before any other consideration.

    Shelly. Friday, 13 January 2017 01:11 PM

    They launched a separatist concept when they were enjoying the cream of Ceylon and later launched an arm struggle asking for 23rd. of the land and sea and when not succeed went to green pastures with load of lies. via DM Android App

    Lokka Friday, 13 January 2017 01:25 PM

    Lies and damn lies by these human smugglers. They did this in the past not only for profit but also to keep the war going on in Sri Lanka with the money collected from these bogus refugees. The people have hoodwinked the unsuspecting West, specially Canada.

    Eds Friday, 13 January 2017 01:29 PM

    Right........and Prabakaran was a saint !

    Sheri Friday, 13 January 2017 04:09 PM

    They come up with preposterous lies when they get caught !


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