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

Abbotsford seniors’ employment program moves online

Archway Community Services now accepting enrolment for next session

Man from Mexico reported missing in Abbotsford

Antonio Fernandez, 29, was last seen on Monday, May 25

Crane truck topples over at Abbotsford courthouse construction site

Nobody injured in incident on Trethewey Street and George Ferguson Way

Chilliwack trustee removed from committees, district invites

Barry Neufeld’s censure involves four forms of reprimand due to recent Facebook post

FVRD activates its emergency operations centre to monitor Fraser River levels

FVRD activates its emergency operations centre to monitor Fraser River levels

B.C. retirement home creates innovative ‘meet-up’ unit for elderly to see family face-to-face

Innovative ‘purpose-built’ unit keeps residents safe when seeing family for first time since COVID-19

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Death toll rises in COVID-19 outbreak at Langley Lodge

Number has risen to 22, making it the worst to date in B.C.

Fraser Valley libraries to offer contactless hold pick-ups

FVRL Express — Click, Pick, Go service to be offered at all 25 locations starting June 1

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Most Read