Chinese Court Rejects Canadian's Appeal, Plans to Execute Him for Drug Smuggling


A Chinese court decided to uphold the death sentence of a Canadian national who was convicted of drug smuggling in 2018.

The Liaoning High People’s Court said it rejected Robert Lloyd Schellenberg’s appeal because “the facts identified in the first trial were clear, the evidence was true and sufficient, the conviction was accurate, the sentence was appropriate,” according to CNN.

Schellenberg was first tried in March 2016 and was convicted of drug smuggling in November 2018.

According to the court, Schellenberg was sent to Dalian, China, by drug traffickers in November 2014 to smuggle over 222 kilograms of methamphetamine from China to Australia.

The prosecution said that Schellenberg worked with an accomplice and tried to repackage the drugs before shipping them out of the port city.

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His accomplice turned himself in and Schellenberg was later arrested when he tried to flee to Thailand, according to the court.

Schellenberg maintains his innocence and appealed the verdict after he received a sentence of 15 years in prison.

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A high court ordered a retrial in December 2018 after the prosecution said they uncovered new evidence and Schellenberg was handed the death sentence a month later.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized the ruling in 2019 and said the situation was “of extreme concern.”

“We oppose the death penalty in all cases, and condemn the arbitrary nature of Mr. Schellenberg’s sentence,” Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said, according to Bloomberg.

He added that Canada “strongly condemns China’s decision” and will continue to pursue clemency for Schellenberg.

The Chinese court’s decision must still be reviewed by the Supreme People’s Court before action is taken.

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China severely punishes anyone who is caught smuggling or trafficking over 50 grams of a controlled substance, with many facing the death penalty, CNN reported.

Schellenberg’s death sentence comes as diplomatic relations between the two countries worsen.

Canadian police detained a top Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou, in December 2018, just before China ordered Schellenberg’s retrial.

Guy Saint-Jacques, a former Canadian ambassador to China, told CNN he believes China is making an example of Schellenberg.

China has denied any allegations of “hostage diplomacy” with links between the two cases.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith