Crown wants judge's ruling suspended in B.C. human smuggling case

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - A Crown lawyer is asking a B.C. Supreme Court judge to suspend a ruling that struck down Canada's human smuggling law until an appeal can be heard.

Prosecutor Peter LaPrairie says Justice Arne Silverman's ruling earlier this month leaves a gap in the legislation and puts the prosecution of 95 people across the country in jeopardy.

Silverman ruled earlier this month that the law is too broad, doesn't expressly refer to human smuggling and could criminalize humanitarian workers or family members helping refugees.

LaPrairie told Silverman that if he issued a temporary stay of Section 117 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act the charges against the four accused would also be dismissed pending the appeal.

Lawyers for four men accused of human smuggling say their clients should instead be acquitted not have to face further charges.

The accused were on trial for allegedly smuggling dozens of Tamil migrants into Canada aboard the MV Ocean Lady in October 2009.