The arguments came on day one of what is expected to be a week of hearings related to the legal privileges attached to the documents generated by the high-profile case.
« [Meng] reasonably believes that many documents are subject to excessive redactions and overly broad claims of privilege, ”argued the defense team in documents filed before the hearing.
“There is likely to be redacted information that is relevant to his allegations of abuse of process. “
The first day was held in open court, while the rest of the proceedings are expected to take place behind closed doors.
Meng – who was scheduled to attend the hearing – joined by phone. Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes asked if she was present at the start of the proceedings.
“Yes, my lady, I’m online,” Meng replied.
The United States wants Meng extradited to New York to face conspiracy and fraud charges related to allegations she lied to an HSBC banker during a meeting in Hong Kong over the relationship of Huawei with a subsidiary accused of violating US economic sanctions against Iran.
Prosecutors say Meng denied the relationship between the two companies and that the bank then risked lawsuits for violating the same economic sanctions by relying on his allegations of misrepresentation to make financial decisions.
Meng’s lawyers claim that US and Canadian authorities conspired to violate her rights at the time of her arrest by asking the CBSA to detain and question her without a lawyer and to seize her electronic devices.
At an earlier hearing, they accused the RCMP of sharing technical details about these devices with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation in violation of the Canadian Extradition Act.
They plan to argue in future hearings that the case should be dismissed due to an abuse of process. The current procedure concerns documents which the defense claims to need in order to make its arguments.
The arguments follow months of back-and-forth between the Crown and the defense over what began as a mine of 93,000 documents identified as relevant to defense investigations.
A Crown attorney told the court officials spent hundreds of hours reducing that amount to 387 documents and, with the help of a lawyer appointed to act as some sort of arbitrator in the case , they had been able to focus on 37 documents since discussion this week.
Holmes is to rule on document redactions and decisions to exclude approximately two dozen documents from public view entirely because of privileges attached to communications between attorneys and their clients, other legally protected communications and the public interest.
‘Not a black hole’
Meng’s lawyers say an abuse of process by the authorities means that even well-established legal privileges should be lifted.
They cited a Supreme Court of Canada decision in which the country’s highest court declared litigation privilege “not a black hole from which its own evidence of misconduct can never be exposed to. daylight”.
But the prosecution said privilege over communications like that between attorneys and clients should only be waived if “absolutely necessary” – such as in cases where it is necessary to prove a person’s innocence.
In their arguments, attorneys for the Attorney General of Canada said that Meng would have to cross a threshold to meet that bar showing that she could neither get the information from another source nor be able to prove her abuse allegation. procedure without it.
The defense said the Crown has already waived privileges related to certain communications – including a letter from a Justice Department lawyer to the RCMP officer who arrested Meng giving instructions on how she should be detained.
In light of the Crown’s decision to release this information, the defense argues that it should be able to access other related communications.
Defense attorney Scott Fenton asserted that there was “an inconsistency and injustice” in the Crown’s decision to release certain information related to international treaty requests by US authorities to obtain information on the Meng’s electronic devices.
Fenton said the Crown recently disclosed a detailed legal analysis related to a claim in February 2019, while still refusing to publish a “flurry” of emails that arose at the time of the first request in the days following it. arrest of Meng – as the defense believes the RCMP sent the FBI the information they were looking for.