NEWS

Human smuggling case nets prison terms

03/26/2012 03:37 EDT | Updated 05/26/2012 05:12 EDT

Three people convicted of conspiracy to smuggle people into the United States have been sentenced in New Brunswick to time behind bars.

Savita Singh-Murray, of the St. Stephen, N.B., area, and her brother-in-law Mohamed Yusuf, a Toronto resident, were both sentenced Monday at St. Stephen provincial court to two years in prison.

Ravindra Hariprasad, also of Toronto, was handed a one-year sentence in provincial jail.

All three were found guilty last September of inducing or encouraging people to enter the United States illegally between May 5, 2007 and May 11, 2009.

They were conspiring to set up two smuggling jobs, involving a Guyanese woman and a married couple from Guyana at the Maine-New Brunswick border near St. Stephen, the court heard.

The RCMP arrested Singh-Murray, then 43, Yusuf, then 53 and Hariprasad, then 36, in May 2009. They have been under house arrest since then.

The Crown had recommended sentences of three to four years. Despite the lighter sentences, prosecutors said they aren’t considering an appeal.

The defence for Singh-Murray and Yusuf declined comment. They have 30 days to file an appeal.

Hariprasad's defence lawyer, John King, said he’s not considering an appeal "at this stage.

"The judge made a very comprehensive review of the facts in this case and considered all the positives and negatives," he said. "It was a balancing act as judges often have to do and I think the result was a fair one."

The RCMP charged the trio under a section of the Criminal Code that makes it illegal to use Canada as a platform to break the laws of another country.

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