China holds appeal hearing for former Abbotsford man sentenced to death

Robert Schellenberg got death sentence at a retrial, not long 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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Missing Maple Ridge man’s car found in Harrison

Michael Denham has been missing since June 27

PHOTOS: Otter Co-op opens in east Abbotsford

New grocery store hosts grand opening on Monday morning

UFV grads of 2020 honoured in innovative ways

No convocation ceremony due to pandemic, but grads receive ‘celebration box’

Abbotsford Flea Market reopening on Sunday

Market has been closed since March 8 due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Abbotsford City Hall re-opens for scheduled appointments

In-person meetings with staff can now be booked for the first time since March

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

Collision results in train derailment just east of Golden

The derailment occurred Sunday night, according to a statement from CP

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

B.C. highway widening job reduced, costs still up $61 million

Union-only project scales back work to widen Trans-Canada

Greater Victoria nanny pleads guilty to child porn, sexual interference charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to slew of sex crimes

Victoria man dies after skydiving incident on Vancouver Island

34-year-old had made more than 1,000 jumps

Most Read