Huawei CFO wins court order to receive documents for her arrest and extradition

The presiding judge said there was an 'air of reality' that she was arrested unlawfully.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has won a court order that will require various Canadian authorities to provide documents relating to her arrest at a Vancouver airport in December last year.

In Meng's application, her legal team was careful to note the request for these documents is not related to her allegation that the United States only wants to extradite her from Canada for economic and political gain, which forms part of her argument for a stay from her extradition proceedings. 

Rather, Meng's request for Canadian authorities to bring certain documents to court is only related to her claim that the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) unlawfully detained, searched, and interrogated as part of a plan between Canadian and American authorities.

According to the undisputed facts of the case, Meng was detained and arrested by the CBSA and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), respectively, in December. At the time of her arrest, they took her electronic devices and viewed their contents after acquiring her passcodes during questioning. 

The CBSA and RCMP claim that they adhered to an arrest warrant's instructions.

Read more: United States unseals charges against Huawei and its CFO

CBSA then recorded the passcodes in a notebook and then made another note of the passcodes on a separate piece of paper, which Meng's legal team submitted shows an early intention to pass on the devices to others.

In light of these facts, Meng's legal team claims that RCMP unlawfully detained, searched, and interrogated her in deliberate disregard of her Charter rights as they did not follow the arrest warrant's instructions. 

According to Meng's legal team, the CBSA and RCMP delayed her arrest for the purpose of improperly gathering evidence, such as viewing her devices' content, to help the United States' investigation and prosecution. 

In the court ruling, Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes accepted the Huawei executive's application as there is an "air of reality" to her claim that there may have been an abuse of process during her arrest at the Vancouver International Airport.

Holmes came to this decision, she explained, as she found the evidence tendered by the attorney general had "notable gaps", referring to examples such as the CBSA making a "simple error" in turning over the passcodes to the RCMP when they were not legally allowed to do so.

She clarified, however, that this does not mean the court has reached a conclusion about any items of evidence, nor has it made any inferences about whether Meng should be extradited to the United States.

The order will require Canadian authorities to provide documents such as meetings or telephone calls about the plan for Meng's arrest, all updates to members of the United States Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation on the day of her arrest, any information on Meng's detention or arrest created or held by the RCMP, among other documents, to Meng's legal team. 

The Canadian authorities will not be required to disclose any privileged documents however, the order said.

Meng separately raised a lawsuit back in March against the Canadian government, police force, and CBSA regarding her arrest. For that lawsuit, Meng is alleging that she was interrogated "under the guise of a routine customs" search, and was thereby compelled to "provide evidence and information" instead of being arrested.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei's founder, is currently on bail where she is required to stay confined to one of her two Vancouver homes between 11pm and 6am. At the same time, Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were taken in by Chinese authorities days after Meng's arrest, are still in Chinese detention centres, according to a The Global and Mail report.

She is set to attend court for her extradition hearing which will take place in January next year.    

In the United States, Meng currently faces an indictment for allegedly misrepresenting Huawei's ownership and control of Iranian affiliate Skycom to banks, which breached UN, US, and EU sanctions.

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