The six suspects charged with organizing the MV Sun Sea human smuggling scheme will go directly to trial without a preliminary hearing, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada announced yesterday, the National Post reported.
The Crown filed direct indictments against the two Canadians and four Sri Lankans accused of being behind the voyage that brought 492 refugee claimants to the British Columbia coast in August 2010.
Four of the six are in Canadian custody, including former Toronto convenience store owner Nadarajah Mahendran, who was arrested at Pearson airport on Monday (25) after he disembarked from a flight from Germany.
A fifth suspect, Thayakaran Markandu, was arrested in Paris. The Canadian government has asked France to return him to Vancouver to stand trial. The final suspect, Sathyapavan Aseervatham, remains in Sri Lanka, the National Post states.
All have been charged with organizing illegal entry into Canada. They face up to life imprisonment and $1-million in fines if convicted. The Attorney General can order a direct indictment if it is deemed in the public interest.