35958  Appulonappa, et al. v. The Queen  (Charter of Rights –Immigration and Refugee Protection Act)

On appeal from the judgments of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia pronounced April 30, 2014.  On October 17, 2009, Canadian authorities intercepted a freight ship off the west coast of Vancouver Island with 76 Sri Lankan Tamils aboard.  None had proper documentation to enter the country, and all sought refugee status.  Each passenger paid, or promised to pay, between $30,000 and 40,000 for the voyage.  The Crown alleged that the four applicants, who were on board, had organized the voyage, and that they were the captain and chief crew members of the ship. It charged them under s. 117 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act(“IRPA”), with what is known colloquially as the offence of “human smuggling”. Prior to their trial, the applicants sought an order declaring that s. 117 unjustifiably infringes s. 7 of theCanadian Charter of Rights and Freedom and is therefore of no force or effect.  They claimed that s. 117 was overbroad and inconsistent with the principles of fundamental justice, as it criminalized the acts of certain persons (i.e. humanitarian workers and close family members helping each other) which were not intended to be prosecuted.  The Supreme Court of British Columbia found in favour of the applicants, but the Court of Appeal overturned the decision. Application for leave to appeal granted. Motion to join the applications for leave to appeal granted. The appeal will be heard with B010 v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (35388), Jesus Rodriguez Hernandez v. Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (35677), B306 v. Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (35685) and J.P. et al. v. Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (35688).