China court sentences Canadian to death for drug smuggling

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on January 15th, 2019

A Chinese court on Monday retried Canadian defendant Robert Lloyd Schellenberg for smuggling drugs and sentenced him to death.

In November the Dalian Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Schellenberg to 15 years in prison for smuggling drugs and confiscated personal property of RMB 150,000 for deportation. On Schellenberg’s appeal, the Liaoning Provincial Higher People’s Court held that the case should be returned to the trial court for retrial because the punishment was improper.

According to Article 237 of the Criminal Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China, when hearing an appeal filed by the defendant or his/her statutory representative, defender or close relative, an appellate court shall not aggravate the punishments on the defendant. Where a case is remanded to the trial court for new trial, unless there are new facts of the crime and the prosecutor has initiated supplementary prosecution, the trial court shall not aggravate the punishments on the defendant.

On retrial, the court held that the prosecutors had supplemented the prosecution of new criminal facts. The court found that Schellenberger participated in organized international drug trafficking activities and smuggled 222.035 kilograms of ice toxic with others, and his behavior constituted a crime of smuggling drugs. Contrary to the first trial, the court ruled that Schellenberg is the principal offender instead of an accessory to drug smuggling.

“The prosecutors had not introduced new evidence to justify a heavier sentence, and there was insufficient evidence to prove Schellenberg’s involvement in the drug smuggling operation,”said Schellenberg’s lawyer, Zhang Dongshuo. Schellenberg has 10 days from the second day of receiving the judgment to appeal the sentence.

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