China holds appeal hearing for B.C. man sentenced to death

Former Abbotsford man Robert Schellenberg got death sentence after Canada arrested Huawei CFO

In this image taken from a video footage run by China’s CCTV, Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg attends his retrial at the Dalian Intermediate People’s Court in Dalian, northeastern China’s Liaoning province on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (CCTV via AP)

A Chinese court held an appeal hearing Thursday for a former Abbotsford man who was sentenced to death for drug smuggling in a case that has deepened a diplomatic rift between the two countries.

The intermediate-level court in northeastern Liaoning province said Robert Schellenberg’s sentence would be announced at an unspecified date.

READ MORE: China sentences B.C. man to death in drug smuggling case

Convicted of playing a central role in a methamphetamine smuggling operation, Schellenberg was initially sentenced to 15 years in November, only to be handed the death sentence at a hastily-scheduled January retrial.

That came after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, on a U.S. extradition warrant in December. Days later, two Canadians — Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor — were detained in China in apparent retaliation.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned Schellenberg’s sentencing in January and accused China of “arbitrarily” applying the death penalty.

Schellenberg, who was arrested in 2014, has maintained his innocence.

More than 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of methamphetamine were seized as part of Schellenberg’s case, the court said. It called the 36-year-old the “principal offender” and said the evidence presented was “true and sufficient.”

In 2010, he was sentenced to one year in jail and two years of probation for possession for the purpose of trafficking in Abbotsford.

READ MORE: Man sentenced to death in China had prior drug convictions in Abbotsford

He was charged with four more offences – two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking and two counts of possession of a controlled substance – in August 2011. Schellenberg was convicted of all four charges in 2012 and sentenced to another two years in prison, minus time already served.

Canadian Embassy officials were notified and Schellenberg’s litigation rights were lawfully protected during Thursday’s proceedings, the court added.

Schellenberg’s attorney Zhang Dongshuo said it was not clear when the court would announce a decision.

“Both sides comprehensively debated what each believes to be the issues in the case,” Zhang said, adding that at this stage he cannot assess what the final judgment will be.

The appeal hearing followed Meng’s court appearance Wednesday in Vancouver.

Meng is accused of lying to banks about the company’s dealings with Iran in violation of U.S. trade sanctions. Her attorney, Scott Fenton, has argued that comments by U.S. President Donald Trump suggest the case against her is politically motivated.

Washington has pressured other countries to limit use of Huawei’s technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information.

China and the U.S. are currently embroiled in a trade dispute that has beleaguered global financial markets.

READ MORE: Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Summer tubing ban on Cowichan River lifted

The Tube Shack opening on June 27

Killing of Discovery Island wolf was legal, says BC Conservation Service

Takaya was shot and killed by hunters on March 24

Vancouver Island grizzlies: moving in, or just passing through?

Lack of data makes seeming increase in grizzly sightings on the North Island an open question

Hot ticket: Tickets available for Island drive-in theatre experiences

Lion King coming to the big screen at the Cowichan Exhibition, as well as sites in Alberni, Nanaimo

PHOTOS: Greater Victoria School District reports 50 per cent of students back in class

Students are on a rotational schedule alternating two days a week

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Anti-racism rallies take to the streets of Vancouver Island

Death of George Floyd, American unrest sparks action in Island communities

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

Cycling scavenger hunt comes to Tweed City

Cyclists scour Oak Bay for clues in Bike to Work Week event

Langford pitches Westhills as Canadian Premier League soccer hub

Langford could host all eight teams for August matches

Most Read