Meng Wanzhou wins right to more documents involving arrest at Vancouver airport

Defence lawyers allege the Huawei executive was unlawfully detained, searched and interrogated

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is out on bail and remains under partial house arrest after she was detained last year at the behest of American authorities, leaves B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break from a hearing, in Vancouver, on Thursday October 3, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou has won an application for more documents to be disclosed as she alleges she faced an abuse of process during her arrest at Vancouver’s airport last year.

Justice Heather Holmes of the British Columbia Supreme Court says Meng has met the test for further disclosure but her ruling doesn’t predict or imply that the claim of an abuse of process will succeed in the extradition case.

“The test screens out applications to support abuse of process claims with no established air of reality to them, but it is not a demanding one,” Holmes wrote in the decision published online Tuesday.

Meng was detained on Dec. 1, 2018, for three hours by border guards who seized her electronic devices and passcodes before handing them to the RCMP when the police force executed a provisional arrest warrant.

READ MORE: Huawei’s Meng ‘no longer fears unknown’ despite ‘torment, struggle’ of last year

The United States is seeking Meng’s extradition on fraud charges related to the alleged violation of sanctions against Iran. Meng and Huawei deny the allegations and the first part of her extradition trial is scheduled to begin in January.

There are also a number of hearing dates set in June, when her lawyers plan to argue that the Canada Border Services Agency, the RCMP and the Federal Bureau of Investigation violated her rights.

The lawyers allege she was unlawfully detained, searched and interrogated as part of a plan between Canadian and American authorities to have border officers misuse their customs and immigration powers to covertly collect evidence for the FBI.

The allegations have not been proven in court. But at a hearing earlier this fall, defence lawyers argued there was enough of an “air of reality” to the claims for further documents to be disclosed.

In her ruling granting the defence’s request, Holmes says the Crown and defence largely see eye to eye on the main events leading up to and during Meng’s arrest. However, she says they diverge significantly on the inferences they draw from those events.

“In certain areas where the parties rely on competing inferences from notable gaps in the evidence, I view the evidence tendered by the Attorney General to address those gaps as strategic in its character yet impoverished in its substance,” she wrote.

For example, documents released by the Attorney General so far don’t explain why border guards made what the Crown has characterized as an “error” of illegally turning over Meng’s passcodes to the RCMP, or when and how that mistake came to light, she says.

READ MORE: RCMP originally planned to arrest Meng Wanzhou on plane, defence lawyers say

The documents also don’t adequately rebut the defence’s allegation that RCMP improperly sent serial numbers and other identifying details of Meng’s devices to the FBI, Holmes says. She describes the Attorney General’s evidence on this point as “similarly incomplete in its substance, despite its volume relative to the issue.”

The judge grants Meng access to numerous documents including any related to meetings or telephone calls on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2018, about the co-ordination of her arrest.

Meng also won access to correspondence between Nov. 28 and Dec. 5, 2018, between RCMP and U.S. law enforcement members related to her arrest, and a list describing any documents withheld or redacted to date, stating the reason for the redaction.

Meng’s arrest has sparked a diplomatic crisis between China and Canada.

Beijing was seen to be retaliating when it detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been in custody for a year without seeing their families or a lawyer. On Tuesday, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said the cases have been sent “for investigation and prosecution” on national security allegations.

The Canadian 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

Just Posted

Witset writes its own cannabis law

First Nation says it is their constitutional right to govern cultivation and sale of marijuana

Police watchdog recommends charges in 2017 in-custody death of Witset man

Dale Culver was pepper-sprayed by RCMP in Prince George and died later in hospital

Town grants Chamber $20K

Chamber estimates up to $65K in lost revenue, turns to council for help

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach urges feds to compensate airline passengers

Letter to transport minister touches on Northwest B.C. tourism operators impacted by COVID-19

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Most Read