A Chinese court ordered a retrial of a Canadian national on drug smuggling charges on Saturday after prosecutors said his sentence of 15 years was too light – a case that could further test relations between Beijing and Ottawa.
This month, tensions between the two governments have been high since Canada’s arrest of a high-ranking Chinese executive at the request of the United States, followed by China’s detainment of two Canadian citizens on suspicion of endangering state security.
Robert Lloyd Schellenberg had lodged an appeal after being handed a 15 year sentence on Nov. 20 in the northeastern city of Dalian, the high court for the province of Liaoning said in a statement, adding that he was to have been deported after serving his sentence.
Furthermore, at the appeal hearing, prosecutors said the sentence was too light and improper, arguing Schellenberg was highly likely to have been part of a international drugs smuggling operation and had played a major role in smuggling the drugs, the statement said.
The court said it accepted this argument and ordered a retrial. It added that Canadian diplomats were in court for the appeal.
However, it was not immediately clear who Schellenberg’s lawyer was or when the retrial may take place.
Canadian government has followed the case for several years and they already gave assistance to the accused.
Also, China has been known for routinely punished violators of drug trading and smuggling.