A timeline of events around the MV Sun Sea

A timeline of events for the MV Sun Sea

VANCOUVER — A chronology of events in the case of the MV Sun Sea:

July 16, 2010: Canada watches for a ship alleged to be carrying illegal Tamil migrants after a Sri Lankan newspaper warned the vessel could be headed for British Columbia.

Aug. 11, 2010: The cargo ship believed to be carrying hundreds of Tamils from Sri Lanka continues sailing toward the British Columbia coast, crossing into an economic zone that extends 370 kilometres from Canada’s shores.

Aug. 13, 2010: The Canadian navy intercepts the cargo ship MV Sun Sea carrying 492 people and escorts it to CFB Esquimalt, near Victoria.

Aug. 15, 2010: The RCMP says one of the Tamil migrants on the freighter died just weeks before the ship arrived off B.C. The Mounties say a 37-year-old man died about three weeks earlier after getting sick on board the vessel, with no way to treat his illness.

Aug. 19, 2010: Five migrants, all women, participate in an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing in Vancouver.

Aug. 26, 2010: Shepherd Moss, a lawyer for some of the 492 Tamils, suggests federal agencies are trying to drag out the identity checks on the migrants, thereby keeping them in jail longer.

Sept. 13, 2010: A pregnant woman who arrived aboard the MV Sun Sea is the first of the migrants to be ordered released from detention.

Oct. 19, 2010: Prime Minister Stephen Harper says legislation will be introduced in the House of Commons aimed at tightening immigration law to deter human smuggling and encourage would-be migrants to follow proper channels. He said the “growing problem of mass arrivals through human smuggling … calls into question the most basic obligation of a sovereign country â€” to control its own borders.”

Oct. 21, 2010: Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says some of the Tamil migrants who arrived in British Columbia waters were already denied refugee status from the United Kingdom.

Feb. 21, 2011: Harper is in B.C. promoting his government’s immigration platform at a time when speculation is rife that there could be a spring election.

March 24, 2011: The last of 63 female passengers on board the Sun Sea is ordered released from detention by the Immigration and Refugee Board. Forty-four of the men on board are still in detention.

April 29, 2011: Marc Tessler, an adjudicator with the Immigration and Refugee Board, says the federal government’s definition of which migrants aboard the MV Sun Sea are members of the Tamil Tigers is so broad that, if it was accepted, ongoing hearings to determine membership in the terrorist group would be meaningless.

Nov. 27, 2015: The Supreme Court of Canada says those who are steering a ship, acting as a lookout or cooking meals cannot automatically be branded as human smugglers. The high court effectively ruled that acts of humanitarian assistance or aid between family members do not amount to people smuggling under Canada’s immigration law.

Oct. 19, 2016: A trial begins in the case of two Canadians and two Sri Lankans who have pleaded not guilty to organizing or assisting the 2010 voyage of MV Sun Sea. Kunarobinson Christhurajah, Lesly Emmanuel, Nadarajah Mahendran and Thampeernayagam Rajaratnam are each charged with violating the Immigrant and Refugee Protection Act by organizing, inducing, aiding or abetting the illegal entry of 10 or more people into Canada.

Jan. 17, 2017: A British Columbia Supreme Court judge instructs the jury in the case to be “very cautious” about relying on eyewitness evidence to find guilt in the case of the four men. Justice William Ehrcke noted that the jury had heard evidence from witnesses that on more than one occasion, they were shown photographs by the RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency and asked if they could identify anyone pictured. He says problems with the photo lineup raised by defence lawyers are a “serious concern.” The Crown tells the jury the RCMP had to adapt to a “rather unusual situation” when they investigated the arrival of a dilapidated vessel.

Jan. 19, 2017: The jury in the case begins its deliberations.

Jan. 25, 2017: The jury finds Emmanuel, Mahendran and Rajaratnam not guilty. Ehrcke declares a mistrial for Christhurajah after the jury told the court it couldn’t reach a verdict in his case.

The Canadian Press

Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Royal Roads University president Philip Steenkamp said they are aware of hateful graffiti spray-painted in an area of the forest surrounding the campus. The graffiti in question includes anti-Semitic content and a racial slur towards Black people. (Facebook/Royal Roads University)
Anti-Semitic, hateful graffiti spotted in forest near Royal Roads University

Royal Roads working with West Shore RCMP to remove graffiti “as soon as possible”

A cougar was spotted at Royal Roads University on Sunday, Jan. 24. The sighting was reported on the western edge of the campus. (File photo)
Cougar spotted at Royal Roads University Sunday afternoon

Animal reported on western side of campus near Colwood Fire Department

Saanich-based St. Luke’s Players community theatre company has been making the most of their opportunities to keep busy during the pandemic, including staging a Christmastime panto of Alice in Wonderland on Zoom. (Courtesy St. Luke’s Players)
Saanich’s St. Luke’s Players: Bringing the stage to the people

Community theatre company holding online auditions Jan. 23-24 for March production

Frank Bourree was awarded the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce’s first Governors’ Award of Distinction for his leadership in the business community. (Courtesy of Frank Bourree)
Frank Bourree receives award of distinction from Victoria chamber

Award recognizes positive role model in business community

The Habitat for Humanity Meaning of Home contest is open to students in Grades 5 to 6. (Screenshot/Habitat for Humanity video)
Habitat for Humanity launches national writing contest

Entries accepted from students in Grades 4 to 6 until Feb. 19

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

Most Read