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

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

Local Skeena candidates for the Oct. 24 snap election

Current BC Liberal MLA Ellis Ross will be running again, as will Nicole Halbauer for BC NDP

BC Timber Sales’ operations on the North Island and Central Coast to be audited

The Forest Practices Board randomly chose the region to check for compliance to legislation

Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre reopening October 5

The pool facility will have COVID-19 restrictions and protocols in place for patrons

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

VIDEO: Tickets now available for the Second Annual Northern View Tyee Fishing Derby in Prince Rupert

Four great locations in Prince Rupert and Port Edward to buy your tickets

First full day of B.C.’s election campaign begins amid COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and the Green party’s Sonia Furstenau criticized John Horgan’s decision

RCMP issue two $2,300 COVID fines at same Metro Vancouver vacation rental within 24 hours

Cpl. Mike Kalanj said it was ‘quite frankly appalling’ to see parties breaking COVID-19 rules

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Here’s how voting amid a pandemic will happen in B.C.

Elections BC has worked with the provincial health office to determine safety protocols for voting

B.C. privacy commissioner will hear First Nations complaints about COVID

The hearing will rely on written submissions from the Indigenous governments as well as the Ministry of Health

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

Most Read