Judge grants Meng Wanzhou's request to delay extradition hearing until August
VANCOUVER -- A B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled on Wednesday afternoon to grant Meng Wanzhou’s defence team a three-and-a-half month adjournment in her extradition case.
Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes did not give reasons for her decision on the application from the Huawei executive’s defence team, and said she would provide them in writing later in the week.
Last week, Meng’s lawyers reached an agreement with HSBC bank in Hong Kong to obtain documents they say could impact the extradition process after a similar request was denied by courts in the U.K.
Meng’s lawyers argued before Holmes on Monday that they need a reasonable pause in the hearings in order to review the documents and to assess their impact on Meng’s case.
Holmes indicated after she announced her decision that she would not accept further delays to the court schedule as a result of what Meng’s lawyers find or don’t find in those documents.
“I wish now to make plain that the remainder of the proceedings … will be rescheduled to begin on or around Aug. 3, 2021,” Holmes said, adding that any new applications related to the documents would need to be completed before that.
Lawyers for the Attorney General of Canada opposed the request and accused Meng’s defence team of embarking on a globe-trotting fishing expedition, and of attempting to turn the extradition process into a trial.
“There is no justification for this 11th hour attempt at delay,” said Crown lawyer Robert Frater, Q.C.
The head of Meng’s legal team, Richard Peck, Q.C. told the court: “At no time have we come (to the court) with meritless or frivolous applications.”
Meng has been under house arrest in Vancouver since she was arrested on an extradition request from the U.S. at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018.
She faces bank and wire fraud charges in the U.S., where federal authorities allege she misrepresented Huawei’s relationship with SkyCom, a Huawei subsidiary doing business in Iran, during a presentation to HSBC.
This, they allege, put HSBC at risk of violating U.S. sanction laws against Iran.
Meng and Huawei have repeatedly denied the charges.
Meng’s next court appearance is scheduled via telephone for April 28.