Judgment in July as trial wraps for four men accused of smuggling Tamil migrants

Accused migrant smugglers awaiting judgement

VANCOUVER — The trial for four men charged with smuggling dozens of Tamil migrants to Canada aboard a decrepit ship is over and the judge has reserved his decision until July.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Arne Silverman told the court Friday he will allow the defence to submit an additional written response to the Crown’s allegations before determining his verdict.

The four men are accused under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of smuggling 76 migrants on board the vessel from Thailand to the coast of British Columbia in October 2009.

The Supreme Court of Canada ordered a new trial for the men in 2015 after ruling portions of the act were unconstitutional and shouldn’t automatically brand those who help migrants as people smugglers.

In closing arguments this week, the prosecutor said exceptions that protect those providing humanitarian aid or helping fellow migrants doesn’t apply to the accused because they were part of a profit-driven scheme.

Defence lawyers for Francis Anthonimuthu Appulonappa, Hamalraj Handasamy, Jeyachandran Kanagarajah and Vignarajah Thevarajah say the evidence fails to prove the four men benefited financially or had a privileged position aboard the vessel.

Silverman is expected to deliver his judgement on July 27.

The Canadian Press