Crown says one violation of Meng Wanzhou’s rights would not be enough to reject extradition

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Crown says one violation of Meng Wanzhou's rights would not be enough to reject extradition


Senior counsel for the Attorney General of Canada conceded on Friday that the judge overseeing Meng Wanzhou’s extradition proceedings could find that a Canada Border Services Agency agent violated the rights of the Huawei executive by giving to the RCMP the access codes to his phones.
But Robert Frater told BC Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes, even though she found a violation of Meng’s right to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure under the section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, dismissing the case would not suffice. .

“Normally, if you have a violation of Section 8, the remedy is the exclusion of the evidence,” Frater told Holmes.

“And you will do a very broad search to find a case in which a violation of Article 8, by itself, has led to a stay of proceedings. ”

Alleged secret criminal investigation

Frater concluded the Crown’s response on Friday afternoon to an offer by Meng’s lawyers to dismiss the case over alleged violations of his rights during the events surrounding his arrest at the Vancouver airport on December 1, 2018.

Meng is the chief financial officer of Huawei and the daughter of the billionaire founder of the Chinese telecommunications giant, Ren Zhengfei.

Justice Canada Chief Counsel Robert Frater is here arguing in Federal Court in 2019. Frater is the Senior Crown Counsel in the Meng Wanzhou case. (Mathieu Theriault / CBC)

US wants her returned to New York, where she is charged with fraud and conspiracy over allegations she lied to an HSBC bank executive about Huawei control of an accused company for violating US economic sanctions against Iran.

Prosecutors say the bank relied on Meng’s allegations of misrepresentation in deciding whether to continue processing financial transactions for Huawei, putting HSBC at risk of loss and lawsuits.

The defense and the Crown have spent the past two weeks reviewing the actions of RCMP and CBSA officers in connection with Meng’s arrest and the seizure of his cell phones, laptop and tablet.

Meng’s lawyers say the US Federal Bureau of Investigation conspired with Canadian authorities to open a secret criminal investigation by asking the CBSA to examine Meng for three hours without a lawyer despite a warrant that called for his arrest. immediate ”.

They also accused the CBSA of illegally sharing intelligence with the RCMP and claim that the police then sent technical intelligence to the FBI outside of official channels.

“No research at the end of the day”

During his testimony last fall, the CBSA officer who asked Meng for the access codes to his two phones admitted to giving the RCMP the piece of paper he wrote the numbers on. – claiming it was a mistake.

Frater told Holmes that the defense had failed to prove the existence of a conspiracy, attempts to cover up wrongdoing, or any significant delay in Meng’s arrest.

CBSA officers asked Meng for the access codes to his phones when they seized his electronic devices. They then mistakenly transmitted these codes to the RCMP. (Supreme Court of British Columbia)

“That leaves … the question of the search,” he told the judge.

“And one thing you have in this case is that there was an admitted erroneous transmission of the access codes to the RCMP.” ”

Frater said he believed that sharing the access codes alone was not enough to establish a violation of Meng’s rights because the RCMP had never used them to search or open the devices and they had not been turned over to the FBI.

“While the RCMP had the two things at the same time – access codes and phones – that would allow them to violate Ms. Meng’s privacy, they never did,” he said.

“There was no search at the end of the day. Even though they could afford to do the research, they didn’t. ”

“Difficult” to find a similar case

The judge repeatedly questioned Crown attorneys during their submissions, suggesting that she was prepared to conclude that the CBSA and the RCMP may have violated Meng’s rights, even though they did not. had not done at the request of the FBI.

The defense argued that the judge may conclude that a single Charter violation may not be sufficient on its own to justify termination of the proceedings, but that the cumulative effect of a series of violations would.

The CBSA seized Meng’s phones upon arrival in Vancouver and then turned them over to the RCMP. His lawyers claim that the CBSA violated his privacy rights by giving the police access codes. (Supreme Court of British Columbia)

Frater said he could find only one example of a case where a violation of the right to protection under Article 8 from unreasonable search and seizure resulted in a stay of proceedings.

The case involved an Ontario woman who was arrested for fraud, strip search and humiliated in front of her colleagues.

“It wasn’t just a case of excluding evidence. It was a case where a stay had to be imposed, ”said Frater.

“Other than that kind of extreme case… you’ll be hard pressed to find a Section 8 case that leads to a stay. ”

The defense will give a final answer to the Crown’s arguments on Monday morning, then begin a new round of arguments related to what they claim to be an overshoot of the United States by bringing charges against a Chinese citizen for an alleged offense. against a British bank.

The process is expected to stop at the end of next week before returning for a final three-week block from the end of April, when the subject of the extradition request itself will be debated.

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