Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, arrives at B.C. Supreme Court to attend her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, Aug. 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

No person had ‘fairer hearing,’ government lawyer tells Meng Wanzhou extradition case

No person had ‘fairer hearing,’ government lawyer tells Meng Wanzhou extradition case

VANCOUVER — There has been no misconduct in the extradition case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou that would justify a stay of proceedings, a lawyer for Canada’s attorney general told the British Columbia Supreme Court.

Robert Frater told the court Tuesday that there is no need for contrition from either the United States or Canadian border officials over the handling of the case.

“No person has enjoyed a fairer hearing than Ms. Meng,” he told the court in addressing claims by lawyers for Meng that she faced a 34-point list of alleged abuses.

Meng’s arrest in 2018 at Vancouver’s airport has corroded the relationship between Canada and China. She is wanted in the United States on bank fraud charges that both she and Huawei deny.

The arguments over abuse of process claims came hours after a Chinese court rejected an appeal by Canadian Robert Schellenberg, whose 15-year prison term on drug smuggling charges was increased to the death penalty a month after Meng’s arrest.

The federal government called Schellenberg’s ruling arbitrary, and the penalty “cruel and inhumane.”

Another Chinese court is expected to release its verdict in Canadian Michael Spavor’s case on Wednesday, even as the Vancouver court prepares to hear final arguments on whether Meng should be handed over to U.S. authorities.

Meng’s lawyers have argued that tossing out the case is the only appropriate remedy for the abuses they claim she has suffered since her arrest, including alleged political interference by then-U. S. president Donald Trump.

Frater agreed with arguments from Meng’s lawyers that the actions of a Canada Border Services Agency officer to relay Meng’s phone passcodes to RCMP was a violation of privacy laws.

Those involved were dealing with “novel” conditions but there was no prejudice to the Huawei executive’s case, he told the court.

Meng’s lawyers told the court Monday that the alleged abuse of process conduct ranged from front-line U.S. attorneys drafting court documents, officers tasked with arresting her not complying with the law and interference from then-U. S. president Donald Trump.

The U.S.-led conspiracy theory is a “glue” without which the argument falls apart, Frater told the court.

Frater also addressed Meng’s lawyers claims that she was used as “ransom” and a “bargaining chip” by Trump.

“No words like ransom or bargaining chip have been used by requesting state officials,” he said.

“We agree with them that words have power, but your job is to look at the actual words and not an emotive recasting of the original language.”

While Trump’s words put a shroud over the proceedings, her lawyers failed to establish a link between her trial and comments from either the former president or any U.S. officials, he said.

If the defence felt that the former president’s words did indeed put a shroud over the extradition proceedings, a remedy should have been sought right away, Frater said.

The U.S. charges against Meng centre around a PowerPoint presentation she showed to HSBC executives. The attorney general, which represents the U.S. government in the case, has said she misrepresented Huawei’s relationship with another company, putting HSBC at risk of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Meng’s lawyers have said the U.S. cherry-picked information from the PowerPoint and omitted slides in the presentation where she described Huawei as having a “normal and controllable” relationship with Skycom.

Frater told the judge that “logical leap from irrelevance to abuse is a precarious one that we urge you not to take.”

There was no misconduct by the United States, he said.

“There was simply an appropriate exercise of discretion in choosing what went into the various records and what didn’t. Not every detail can be included.”

With arguments over the abuse of process allegations concluded, Meng’s actual extradition hearing is set to begin Wednesday.

— With files from The Associated Press.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 10, 2021.

Hina Alam, The Canadian Press

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