Canada court rejects Huawei exec’s request to see intel docs

Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers sought access to the documents to support claims of abuse of process. (Reuters pic)

OTTAWA: Canada’s federal court on Tuesday rejected Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s bid to access intelligence documents, citing national security and saying they do not bolster her challenge to how her arrest was carried out.

The Chinese telecom giant’s chief financial officer was arrested on a US warrant in December 2018 during a stopover in Vancouver.

She is charged with bank fraud linked to violations of US sanctions against Iran, and has been fighting extradition ever since.

Meng’s lawyers sought access to the documents to support claims of abuse of process, which if proven could result in a stay of the extradition proceedings.

But the court found that the information contained in the documents “is not relevant to the allegations of abuse of process described by counsel for Ms Meng”.

“The information does not provide the ‘missing pieces of the puzzle’ that Ms. Meng seeks,” Justice Catherine Kane wrote in the decision.

The judge also agreed with the attorney-general that their disclosure “would be injurious to national security or international relations”.

The documents include Canadian Security Intelligence Service situational reports about Meng’s arrest, emails and an agent’s handwritten notes taken in the days following her arrest.

Other details remain redacted.

Meng’s lawyers have been fighting a separate legal battle at the British Columbia Supreme Court for access to hundreds more federal police, border agency and justice department documents.

In that case, the attorney-general has argued privilege.

In both courts, the defence alleged that US and Canadian authorities had conspired to gather evidence and interrogate Meng without a lawyer in the hours after she disembarked from a Hong Kong flight but before she was charged, in violation of her rights.

They also accused the RCMP of providing serial numbers and technical specifications of her smartphones, tablet and laptop computer to the FBI.

Meng remains under house arrest in Vancouver while the extradition case, which is due to wrap up in April 2021, is heard.