B.C. judge declares human smuggling law too broad, putting Tamil cases in limbo

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - Canada's human smuggling law has been struck down by the British Columbia Supreme Court, leaving two high-profile prosecutions in limbo with the suggestion the federal government should go back to the drawing board.

The decision comes in the first of two trials for men accused of ferrying Tamil migrants to B.C.'s west coast.

A publication ban was lifted today on a ruling issued Friday by Justice Arne Silverman, who found the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act infringes on charter rights and could lead to the prosecution of people like humanitarian workers.

Silverman says Parliament could potentially solve the problem by crafting "properly worded" legislation that addresses the issues.

The trial for four men, which was set to start this month, has been adjourned and jury selection has been cancelled.

Lawyer Phil Rankin, who represents one of the accused, says he's pleased with the decision and does not believe it will prompt more flotillas of ships carrying refugees to come to Canada.