Defense questions Canada policeman who arrested Huawei exec

Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers  questioned a Canadian federal policeman why he waited three hours to arrest the Huawei executive on a US warrant, during a second day of testimony at her extradition hearing on Tuesday.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Winston Yep was the first witness to testify in the 48-year-old Chinese executive’s two-year fight against extradition to the United States to face fraud charges related to violations of US sanctions in Iran. 

Five days of evidentiary hearings this week will hear defence lawyers probing allegations that Canadian authorities conspired with the US to delay Meng’s arrest and obtain information that could be used at trial, in violation of Meng’s rights — which Canada rejects.

Yep was asked why, despite an “urgent” US request for Meng’s “immediate” arrest, he allowed border officers to interrogate her for three hours at the Vancouver airport, seizing her electronic devices, before arresting her. 

He testified that the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) rejected immediately detaining Meng when her flight from Hong Kong landed in Vancouver. 

Earlier he said he feared an arrest on the airplane might endanger “officer and public safety” if the Huawei chief financial officer had a knife, secret bodyguards, or even “counter-surveillance” agents.

“CBSA indicated that it was their jurisdiction,” Yep said. “They didn’t want (the RCMP) on the plane to effect the arrest.”

In those three hours questioned by CBSA agents, Meng was not able to phone a lawyer, or the Chinese consulate.

If proven, the defense allegations of abuse of process could result in a stay of the extradition proceedings.

Yep also admitted an affidavit for Meng’s arrest incorrectly said she had “no ties to Canada,” when in fact she held permanent resident status and had two Vancouver houses.

She has been under guarded house arrest in one of them since her first court appearance in December 2018.

“Yes it was an error on my part that she did not have ties to Canada,” Yep said. “I didn’t write that in there but… it should have not been in the affidavit.”

The defense pressed Yep about notes he wrote with initials of high-ranking Canadian national security officials and agencies including Canada’s counter-terrorism security force — and whether they ever influenced his sworn affidavit and arrest warrant.

“Nobody did,” he replied. 

More witnesses are expected to testify on Wednesday.