Extradition hearing for Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou set for early next year

The U.S. Department of Justice has laid charges of conspiracy, fraud and obstruction against Wanzhou

British Columbia’s Supreme Court has accepted a plan by the defence team for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou that would see her extradition hearing begin Jan. 20, more than a year after she was taken into custody.

Defence lawyer David Martin proposed six blocks of court dates over the next 16 months, telling the court it’s the most “aggressive” schedule they believe is workable.

READ MORE: RCMP, CBSA deny searching Meng Wanzhou’s phones and other devices

A quick hearing would be in the public and national interest, he said.

“We will complete a complicated case within less than a two-year period, which in our respectful submission, would be a record for the conduct of proceedings of this complexity,” Martin told the court.

Meng, who wasn’t in court, was arrested in December at Vancouver’s airport at the request of the United States, which is seeking her extradition.

The U.S. Department of Justice has laid charges of conspiracy, fraud and obstruction against Chinese technology giant Huawei and Meng, who is the daughter of the company founder Ren Zhengfei.

Both Meng and Huawei have denied any wrongdoing.

Since the arrest, the relationship between Canada and China has deteriorated. China has detained two Canadians, accusing them of espionage, and it has sentenced another two Canadians to death for drug crimes.

Meng’s extradition hearing in January will begin with opening arguments from Crown prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley, who represents the Attorney General of Canada on behalf of the United States, followed by arguments by the defence focusing on the concept of “double criminality.”

Huawei spokesman Benjamin Howes outlined the case for the defence in a statement to media Thursday after the court dates were set.

“According to Canadian law, no one should be extradited to face punishment in another country for conduct that is not criminal in Canada. The U.S. allegations against Ms. Meng are based on violations of unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States on financial services in Iran. Canada does not impose any such sanctions,” he said.

Gibb-Carsley argued Thursday against the defence team’s proposal to begin the hearing with a spotlight on the question. If the defence fails in its double criminality argument, then the court would hear other arguments about whether there are sufficient grounds to extradite Meng in September and October 2020.

Gibb-Carsley said isolating the argument would be a waste of court resources and breaks from case law. Instead, he said the court should consider all of the arguments at once.

“The entire purpose of a committal hearing is to address the sufficiency of double criminality,” he said.

But Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes challenged the idea.

“If (the defence’s argument) doesn’t succeed, we go on to the other issues. If it does succeed, that’s the end of the committal,” she said.

If the case proceeds, the next step would see the defence make a motion to introduce evidence in April 2020.

The court has set aside another two weeks next June to hear arguments about whether Meng’s detention and questioning at the Vancouver airport or comments made by U.S. President Donald Trump constituted an abuse of process.

“Upon her arrest at the airport, Ms. Meng was subjected to an unlawful search by Canadian authorities under the pretence of a routine border check. This is an abuse of Canada’s extradition process and a serious violation of her rights,” Howes alleged.

The defence will request a stay of proceedings, arguing the case against her was guided by political and financial considerations by the United States, not the rule of law, Howes said.

RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency replied this week to a separate civil lawsuit launched by Meng and Hauwei, denying officers searched her electronic devices. They say border officials only examined Meng and her luggage for immigration and customs purposes.

An extra two weeks of court time in November 2020 has been booked as a precaution.

The case schedule meets the increasing demand by the Supreme Court of Canada that criminal proceedings move along “as expeditiously as is appropriate,” Holmes said.

“It’s a workable and rational schedule, in my view.”

Meng has been free on bail and is living in one of her two multimillion-dollar homes in Vancouver while wearing an electronic tracking device.

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

OPINION: The more walkable a city, the more liveable it is

New pedestrian advocacy group, Walk in Nanaimo, being formed

Homelessness Action Week a call for citizens to see the issue in a new light

Homelessness Action Week Oct. 13-19 includes coffee talk, facility tours, film screening

Nanaimo Clippers thankful after three straight wins on road trip

City’s junior A hockey club wins seventh in a row, trades alternate captain

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Empower court system, RCMP to curb crime

Justice system gives free rides to repeat offenders, says letter writer

Nanaimo Ladysmith school district deciding how best to provide menstrual products for students

Early cost estimates tag $75,000 for product dispensers; trustees seek student consultation

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

Proposed 76-unit residential development would neighbour north Nanaimo mall

Council approves first and second reading of re-zoning application for 4961 Songbird Pl.

Map on Elections Canada site sends voters to Cedar landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

Nanaimo software designer creates hunting-themed card game

Duck Buck Moose involves skill, cunning and luck of the draw

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates compare, contrast platforms on debate stage

Energy policy, veterans’ affairs and more debated Thursday at Beban Park

City council mulls emergency medical responder training for firefighters

Council directs staff to prepare report on firefighter medical training upgrades

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Most Read