Huawei Technologies attorneys resumed witness testimony in a Vancouver court, asking why facets of CFO Meng Wanzhou’s arrest failed to set off “alarm bells” to the arresting federal police officer.
Huawei’s legal team took the floor on the second day of the hearings in the British Columbia Supreme Court, in which Meng is fighting extradition to the US.
The five days of scheduled hearings will focus on allegations by her attorneys of abuses of process perpetrated by Canadian and US government throughout her arrest at December 2018 at the Vancouver International Airport.
Meng, 48, is facing charges in the United States of bank fraud for allegedly misleading HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, causing the bank to break US sanction legislation.
From the courtroom afternoon session, Meng’s attorney Richard Peck focused on the affidavit signed by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Constable Winston Yep the day before withdrawing Meng, which included swearing that Meng had no ties to Canada.
The affidavit affirmed the rationale and circumstances for hunting Meng’s arrest, in order to get a judge to issue a warrant.
However after that day, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials told Yep that Meng owned two houses in Vancouver.
Peck asked whether this contradiction into the contents of the affidavit put off some “alarm bells” in Yep’s head, and whether he reached out to any colleagues or officials at the federal Justice Department to try and make a shift to the affidavit.
“That did not cross my mind,” Yep explained. “I read (the affidavit)… but I can’t explain why that didn’t cross my mind.”
Peck’s questions build on themes from Monday, striving to highlight lapses of due process during Meng’s arrest. She was questioned for three hours by CBSA officers without legal representation and her electronic devices were captured prior to RCMP officials detained her, according to court documents.
Meng has maintained innocence but remains under house arrest in her Vancouver home, situated in a upscale neighbourhood of the Pacific coastal city, for the duration of this trial.
On Tuesday afternoon, Peck went over a string of text messages, and emails which Yep delivered and received before arresting Meng, as well as the notes Yep took throughout the day in his laptop.
Specifically, he introduced Yep with an email in which the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) told the RCMP that the “best way to ensure CBSA to interject” would be to know Meng’s name and flight details ahead of her birth.
Meng’s lawyers have alleged that Canadian authorities improperly communicated with their US counterparts throughout her arrest, such as sharing identifying details about her electronic devices.
Meng came in court on Tuesday, accompanied with her translator. She spoke with Chinese consular officials before seating herself in the court.
Meng’s lawyers have argued that Canadian and American authorities made this choice because CBSA officers have particular privileges in searching and exploring individuals crossing Canada’s boundaries.
Meng’s arrest triggered an ongoing chill in diplomatic relations between Ottawa and Beijing. Soon after her detention, China arrested Canadian taxpayers Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig on espionage charges in what was widely seen as retaliation.
The trial is scheduled to wrap up in April 2021, although the potential for appeals means the case could drag on for years throughout the Canadian justice system.
The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed the ‘Huawei lawyers ask Canadian police why no ‘alarm bells’ rang during CFO’s arrest‘ article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Tessa Vikander in Vancouver and Moira Warburton in Toronto. Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Stephen Coates.
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