Meng’s Judge Questions Thoroughness of Alleged ‘Covert Criminal Investigation’

March 18, 2021 Updated: March 18, 2021

VANCOUVER—A B.C. Supreme Court judge is questioning why border officers didn’t question Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou more rigorously if their exam was actually a covert criminal investigation, as her lawyers say.

Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes says a few questions asked by border officials touched on topics that her lawyers say were relevant to a criminal investigation in the United States, but the exam was hardly “grilling.”

Tony Paisana, one of Meng’s lawyers, replied that the fact the officers didn’t do a great job of violating Meng’s rights doesn’t mean they didn’t violate them.

He also says it could very well be that the primary goal of the covert probe was to obtain passcodes to her electronic devices for U.S. officials.

A border officer who wrote down the passcodes has previously testified that he passed them to an RCMP officer in a “heart-wrenching” personal error.

Meng was arrested at Vancouver’s airport in 2018 at the request of the United States, where she faces fraud charges that both she and Huawei deny.

“If this was all as you’re suggesting, would the officers not have done a more concerted job of questioning Ms. Meng?” Holmes asked. “There were a few questions touching on the topics you’ve outlined, but it’s not exactly a grilling examination or even a very vigorous one or detailed.”

The court has heard that Meng was held by border officers for three hours before she was informed of her arrest.