POLITICS

Federal prosecutors say MV Sun Sea smuggling cases will go directly to trial

06/27/2012 05:24 EDT | Updated 08/27/2012 05:12 EDT
OTTAWA - Federal prosecutors say six people charged with human smuggling in connection with the arrival of a migrant vessel will go directly to trial.

It means there will be no preliminary hearings in the criminal cases slated for the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

Charges were laid after the MV Sun Sea, a rickety boat carrying 492 migrants, arrived in British Columbia two years ago.

The Public Prosecution Service handles proceedings involving offences under federal jurisdiction, working at arm's length from the attorney general.

It has the authority to file direct indictments for a variety of reasons, including cases in which there has already been a substantial delay, or in matters where the safety or security of witnesses or their families may be at risk.

Following custom, the agency did not provide a reason for proceeding with direct indictments.

Sathyapavan Aseervatham, 43, Kunarobinson Christhurajah, 32, Lesly Jana Emmanuel, 37, Nadarajah Mahendran, 56, Thayakaran Markandu, 40, and Thampeernayagam Rajaratnam, 55, face charges of knowingly organizing, inducing, aiding or abetting undocumented people to come to Canada.