Court rejects appeal by Canadian drug smuggler

(China Daily)     Updated : 2021-08-12

Canadian citizen Robert Lloyd Schellenberg appears in court in Dalian, Liaoning province in Jan, 2019. [File photo provided to China Daily]

The high court in Northeast China's Liaoning province rejected an appeal by a Canadian drug smuggler on Tuesday and upheld his death sentence.

The Liaoning High People's Court announced its decision in the case of Canadian citizen Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, who was given the death penalty by the Dalian Intermediate People's Court in the province in early 2019 for trafficking more than 222 kilograms of methamphetamine. His property and assets were also seized.

Schellenberg had appealed to the province's high court.

After a review, the high court said in a statement posted on the Sina Weibo micro blog platform on Tuesday that the facts of the case were clear, the evidence proving Schellenberg's conviction was sufficient, the procedures carried out during the intermediate court trial were legitimate and the death penalty was appropriate.

Under China's Criminal Procedure Law, when a court sentences a person to death, the ruling should be submitted for review to the Supreme People's Court, the country's top court. The death sentence can be carried out after the top court approves it.

In the statement, the high court said it protected Schellenberg's rights during the trial, allowing him to use his own language during the proceedings, listening to his lawyers' arguments and hiring two interpreters for him.

A number of people, including embassy officials and deputies to the National People's Congress, witnessed the announcement of the ruling on Tuesday, it added.

In November 2018, the intermediate court in Dalian sentenced Schellenberg to 15 years in prison for smuggling drugs. The Canadian appealed to the high court.

When the high court heard the case the next month, the people's procuratorate in Liaoning opposed the previous ruling, saying the lenient punishment given by the lower court was obviously inappropriate.

The high court then sent the case back to the intermediate court, ordering it to retry it with a new panel.

On Jan 14, 2019, the intermediate court sentenced Schellenberg to death after identifying him as the ringleader of an organized transnational drug smuggling attempt to transport some 222 kilograms of methamphetamine from a warehouse in China to a destination in Australia.

Under China's Criminal Law, smuggling, selling, transporting and making illegal drugs can be punishable by death if defendants participate in organized international drug smuggling or, as in Schellenberg's case, the amount of methamphetamine exceeds 50 grams.

Schellenberg later appealed to the high court. The appeal was heard in May 2019.