Chief Financial Officer of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou leaves her home in Vancouver, Wednesday, October 28, 2020. Wanzhou is heading to the British Columbia Supreme Court in an evidentiary hearing on her extradition case on abuse of process argument. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Chief Financial Officer of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou leaves her home in Vancouver, Wednesday, October 28, 2020. Wanzhou is heading to the British Columbia Supreme Court in an evidentiary hearing on her extradition case on abuse of process argument. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

‘It has to be dealt with’: Border officer says examination of Meng was necessary

Scott Kirkland told the B.C. Supreme Court Wednesday that collecting the phone passcodes is routine

A border officer who assisted in the three-hour detention and examination of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou before her arrest at Vancouver’s airport two years ago says he didn’t intend to share passcodes for her phones with RCMP.

Scott Kirkland told the B.C. Supreme Court Wednesday that collecting the passcodes is routine during secondary examinations of foreign nationals by the Canada Border Services Agency.

But if he realized at the time that the piece of paper where he wrote them would be passed on to RCMP along with her devices, he would have acted immediately.

“I would have grabbed it back from them, because they’re not allowed to have it. It’s a Privacy Act violation, basically,” he said.

Kirkland is the second in a series of witnesses called to testify at the request of Meng’s defence team, which is gathering evidence for arguments it will make next year that she was subjected to an abuse of process.

The defence has alleged there was a “co-ordinated strategy” to have the RCMP delay her arrest so border officials could question Meng under the pretence of a routine immigration exam.

The request by the United States for her extradition on fraud charges has soured relations between Canada and China.

Kirkland testified that border officers were simply doing their duty by screening Meng before her arrest, because they had their own suspicions of serious criminality and espionage that would affect her admissibility into the country.

Kirkland said he andSowmith Katragadda, his colleague who led her examination, only learned one hour before Meng’s arrival that the RCMP planned to arrest her. They did a quick search for Meng on internal databases and found news articles online involving allegations of American sanction violations and bans on Huawei technologies abroad, he said.

“At that point, we realized this was going to be a high-profile, international examination that just got put into our hands,” he said.

Border officers do not conduct criminal investigations but are required to investigate if they suspect someone is not admissible to Canada, he said. They do not require a search or arrest warrant, he said.

“It has to be dealt with,” he said. “If a person has a potential to be inadmissible to Canada, we can’t ignore it.”

Kirkland said CBSA made “abundantly clear” to RCMP that Mounties could not interfere in the process.

However, he raised a concern before her plane landed that delaying the arrest could be seen as violating her charter rights.

“It would potentially be seen as a delay, that our examination would be argued as a delay in due process for Ms. Meng,” he said.

At no point did he believe the CBSA examination was unlawful, however, he said.

Border officers collected her devices in an anti-static bag at the RCMP’s request after they identified her, Kirkland said.

Kirkland said he spent most of the examination monitoring Meng’s devices. When Katragadda asked him to collect her phone numbers, he also wrote down her passcodes, he said.

“It would be natural for me to do that, so I went ahead and asked for the passwords,” Kirkland said.

Typically, he returns the piece of paper with passcodes to the foreign national, as a reminder that they should change the codes after the examination.

The examination ended before officers actually searched the devices, he said. He didn’t realize until CBSA reviewed Meng’s apprehension days later that the paper was missing.

Earlier Wednesday, defence lawyer Richard Peck accused the RCMP officer who arrested Meng after the border examination of lying.

Const. Winston Yep testified that he didn’t want to infringe on CBSA jurisdiction by arresting Meng immediately after the plane landed and he was concerned boarding the plane for the arrest created too many safety risks.

“My view is that’s not an honest answer,” Peck told Yep. “Safety was never an issue.”

“There is a risk there, because there are lots of people around there,” Yep responded. “We have to mitigate the risk as much as possible.”

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

CourtCrime

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin stopping drivers on BC highways – check point at Manning Park

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

The Aquilini Investment Group has agreed to a proposed contract of five years to run the Abbotsford Centre. (File photo)
Proposal to run Abbotsford Centre offered to Canucks ownership group

Planned five-year contract to cost city $750K annually, starting Jan. 1, 2022

The AHL Board of Governors has approved the Vancouver Canucks decision to move their franchise to Abbotsford. (File photo)
AHL approves Canucks’ franchise relocation to Abbotsford

Board of Governors approves move, season set to start on Oct. 15

Abbotsford Police Department Traffic Enforcement Unit officers were enforcing Highway 11 on Thursday morning. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Abbotsford police enforce traffic on Highway 11

APD Traffic Enforcement Unit regularly responds to general public hot spot complaints

First responders were on the scene at West Oaks Mall following a collision involving a pedestrian on Sept. 29, 2020. (Kevin MacDonald file photo)
Man charged in relation to hit-and-run that injured pedestrian in Abbotsford

Collision took place in September 2020 in crosswalk at West Oaks Mall

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Surrey RCMP is investigating after a serious three-vehicle crash at the intersection of King George Boulevard and 128th Street Thursday afternoon (May 6, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Serious crash in Surrey sends 1 to hospital

Surrey RCMP say one of the drivers fled on foot, but was later found at an area hospital

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

John Paul Fraser, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. (Screen shot)
Salmon farmers warn Surrey jobs on line as feds end Discovery Islands operations

344 full-time jobs at risk in Surrey and 1,189 B.C.-wide

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read