A lawyer for Meng Wanzhou is accusing an RCMP officer of lying about why he didn’t arrest the Huawei executive immediately at Vancouver’s airport two years ago.
Richard Peck told Const. Winston Yep during cross-examination today that he does not believe Yep was honest when he told the B.C. Supreme Court this week why the arrest only happened after Canada Border Services Agency officials questioned Meng for three hours.
Yep is the first in a series of witnesses called to testify at the request of Meng’s defence team, which is gathering evidence for arguments it will make next year that she was subjected to an abuse of process.
The request by the United States for her extradition on fraud charges has soured relations between Canada and China.
Yep testified border officials told him they had their own concerns about Meng’s immigration status and he didn’t want to infringe on their jurisdiction, so agreed that they should screen Meng first then he would make the arrest.
Although a senior RCMP officer suggested boarding the plane and arresting Meng immediately after it landed, Yep also told the court he did not know who Meng was travelling with and was concerned about public and officer safety.
“My view is that’s not an honest answer,” Peck told Yep. “Safety was never an issue.”
“There is a risk there, because there are lots of people around there,” Yep responded. “We have to mitigate the risk as much as possible.”
Yep confirmed when asked by Peck that nowhere in his notes from the time leading up to Meng’s arrest did he write down any concerns about safety or jurisdiction.
The defence has alleged there was a “co-ordinated strategy” to have the RCMP delay her arrest so border officials could question Meng for three hours under the pretence of a routine immigration exam.
It’s one of several allegations of wrongdoing that Meng’s team is lodging against the RCMP and CBSA, along with accusations they kept intentionally poor notes and failed to arrest her immediately according to the warrant’s requirements.
Yep also testified today the he did not ask any border officials to record the passcodes for Meng’s electronic devices, nor did he hear any of his colleagues make such a request.
Yep testified that he did not believe the three hours of questioning by border officials created an unacceptable delay.
He did not have concerns that the delay meant he was violating a stipulation in the provisional warrant for an “immediate” arrest, he said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2020.
Amy Smart, The Canadian Press