Robert Schellenberg

Robert Schellenberg in Chinese court Courtesy China CCTV

A BC man charged with drug smuggling in China saw his death sentence upheld Tuesday.

Robert Schellenberg was busted for drug smuggling in 2014 and sentenced in late 2018 to 15 years behind PRC bars.

He appealed, but court sentenced him to death in January 2019.

Another Canadian, Michael Spavor, who’s been in Chinese custody since late 2018 on charges of espionage, is expected to learn his fate as early as Wednesday.

The Chinese court proceedings are happening as lawyers in Canada representing Meng Wanzhou, the detained chief financial officer of telecoms giant Huawei, prepare final arguments to convince a B.C. Supreme Court not to extradite her to the States, where she faces charges linked to violating sanctions, accused of misleading HSBC Holdings PLC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, potentially causing the bank to violate American economic sanctions.

Meng, who has steadfastly maintained her innocence, has been battling extradition while under house arrest in Vancouver.

The High Court in the northeast province of Liaoning heard Schellenberg’s appeal against the death sentence in May last year and confirmed the verdict on Tuesday.

The court — as is required by law before any death sentences can be carried out — sent the verdict to the Chinese supreme court for review.

Schellenberg, who grew up in Abbotsford, had been jailed twice in Canada for drug crimes before his arrest in China.

Spavor was nabbed by Chinese authorities Dec. 10, 2018 — nine days after Meng, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies — was arrested while changing planes in Vancouver. 

Ottawa has repeatedly criticized the Chinese government over what it has called the “arbitrary detention” of Spavor and the secrecy surrounding the case.

China denied the notion the fates of the Canadians in China are linked to Meng’s case.

However, China has warned of unspecified ramifications unless Meng was released.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau condemned the Schellenberg ruling and called on China to grant the Canadian clemency.

Mike D’Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief for the Western Standard.

Copy Editor

Mike D'Amour is the Copy Editor of the Western Standard based in Victoria, BC. He has worked as an investigative crime reporter at the Calgary Sun, Winnipeg Sun and other media outlets.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.