TORONTO – A Canadian court said on Thursday that lawyers for Huawei’s chief financial officer can argue that the United States misled Canada to obtain her arrest when they present arguments against Washington’s extradition request.
The decision of Judge Heather Holmes, of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, comes on the penultimate day of hearings in which Mounted Police agents and the Canadian Border Services Agency testify over Meng Wanzhou’s Dec. 1, 2018 arrest during a Vancouver layover.
The decision is a victory for Meng’s defense, which considers that Canadian and US authorities committed procedural abuses, making the arrest of Huawei’s top executive illegal.
The Canadian prosecution had asked Holmes to reject the request by Meng’s team of lawyers to argue that the United States “deliberately” erred or omitted “material evidence” in the case because the indictment has no merit.
But the judge said she had “concluded that there is an air of reality in the allegations of abuse of process in relation to the conduct” of the United States.
The United States requested the arrest at the end of 2018, considering Meng and Huawei committed fraud for allegedly lying to the HSBC bank to try to evade trade sanctions Washington imposed against Iran.
On Thursday, border agent Scott Kirkland, who was involved in Meng’s arrest in December 2018, testified again for the second day in a row in Holmes court to answer questions from defense attorneys.
Meng’s lawyers went to great lengths to highlight weaknesses in Kirkland’s Wednesday testimony, especially regarding CBSA agents’ decision to question Huawei’s CFO for three hours before the RCMP proceeded to investigate his arrest.
The defense has indicated Meng should have been arrested immediately upon arrival in Vancouver and that the delay allowed the mounted police to access the executive’s electronic devices without the need to obtain a warrant for their search.
Friday, in principle, is the last day of testimony from the mounted police and border agents. With what was declared these days, by those involved in Meng’s arrest, at the end of February 2021 the prosecution and defense attorneys will present their arguments before Judge Holmes in favor and against extradition.
Meng’s case has caused a serious diplomatic crisis between Canada and China. Beijing accuses the Canadian government of violating the human rights of its citizen.