Meng Wanzhou Photo:AFP
Lawyers for senior Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou returned to a courtroom in Vancouver on Monday, attending a five-day hearing as part of the fight against extradition by the US, but some observers said the testimony of a Canadian official showed a contradiction between Meng’s arrest in 2018 and the present situation.
Winston Yep, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) constable, was the first one to testify at B.C. Supreme Court on Monday, according to Canadian media reports. Nine other witnesses from the RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) are expected to show up for testimony this week.
Previous details concerning the arrest indicate that it was a politically driven trap involving the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the RCMP and the CBSA that included abuse of law enforcement procedures and violations of the law for US political purposes, some observers said, adding that the border agency abused its inspection powers to conduct an illegal covert criminal investigation.
Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer, is facing extradition to the US for alleged bank fraud. She was arrested at Vancouver International Airport by Canadian authorities at the request of the US on December 1, 2018, and has been held under house arrest since then.
While Yep insisted that the RCMP and CBSA officers had no clear plan how the arrest would play out, according to local media reports, observers said the vague testimony showed that the law enforcement officials were trying to hide the true motivation behind the case and obscure the FBI’s involvement.
Yep explained to the court that the arrest was “immediate,” but also that officers don’t “run in” and arrest someone because there are often public safety concerns, according to Canadian media reports. However, the defense has previously alleged that there was a “coordinated strategy” to have the RCMP delay the arrest so border officials could question Meng under the pretense of a routine immigration check.
Yep told the courtroom that if there’s a man holding a knife, it might be possible he might have two or three knives out of sight, when he was asked why he would worry about public safety.
Lawyers questioned this point as it’s unlikely someone would think that a 46-year-old international executive was going to get on a plane with a knife.
The officer also knew it was a high-profile case related to the Chinese tech giant, and some observers said this pointed to contradictions in the testimony.
Lawyers will probe the extent to which Trump administration officials directed RCMP and CMSA officers to engage in a deceptive and improper search that violated a court order and Meng’s Charter rights, according to a statement by Huawei Canada on Tuesday.