VANCOUVER, British Columbia (CN) — Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general claim Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers are relying on inadmissible and irrelevant evidence to wrongfully turn her Canadian extradition proceedings into a “U.S. trial.”
During the second of three days of hearings on motions Tuesday, Crown lawyer Robert Frater told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Heather Holmes that Meng’s lawyers are using the “time honored” defense of “blaming the victim” by claiming HSBC could have avoided violating U.S. sanctions had it not cleared prohibited U.S. dollar transactions involving Iran through its American subsidiary.
Despite submitting affidavits from people with impressive credentials, Frater said the evidence is more appropriate for a U.S. trial court.
“The intent to mislead is in that PowerPoint, and putting before you side issues about whether Huawei has a subsidiary in Iran is not helpful to you in any way,” Frater told the judge. “If you take inadmissible evidence and you pair it with irrelevant evidence, those things can’t add up to a something.”
Responding to the defense team’s assertions this week that the U.S. record of the case against Meng omits crucial information, Frater said courts have found “time and again” that prosecutors are under no obligation to present “every scrap of evidence” in their records of the case or in preliminary hearings. While there’s a need to be candid with defendants on evidence that may affect the fairness of a hearing, Frater said extradition hearings are preliminary “where the prosecution calls part of the case but not all of the case.”
Frater urged Holmes to keep the proceedings on the “straight and narrow” by shutting down the defense’s attempt to “shoehorn” evidence into the record, threatening what should be an “expeditious” matter.
Meanwhile, he said Meng’s lawyers curiously ignored case law on material omissions.
“There are three cases that matter on material omission. Two of them were dead against my friends. Exactly what was tried in those cases is being tried here today and it was rejected out of hand by these judges involved,” he said. “My friends didn’t apparently find these relevant despite the fact that counsel, on both, was [Meng’s lawyer David] Martin.”
However, Frater said he would not object to evidence about President Donald Trump’s public statements about Meng’s case since they were statements “made outside the record of the case that affect the fundamental fairness of the case.”
“That sort of evidence is much different than what you’re being asked to consider here. You’re being asked to turn this into a U.S. trial and our submission is you have to stand firm against that,” Frater told Holmes. “This hearing has to get on. Both of these motions should be dismissed.”
On rebuttal Wednesday, Meng’s lawyer Frank Addario attacked the Crown prosecutor’s assertions that the evidence they’re trying to have admitted is irrelevant.
“We identified multiple, serious misrepresentations and material omissions in the record of the case and the supplementary case going to the very heart of the allegations of criminality against the person sought. They are not minor omissions or inadvertent mistakes,” Addario told the court. “What the United States did include was fundamentally inaccurate and what the United States did omit was central to the deception that the requesting state alleges the applicant committed. That you cannot do in a certified record of the case.”
Furthermore, Addario claimed the PowerPoint presentation, contrary to what the Crown asserts, was about trade and sanctions compliance and not share ownership, while prosecutors “never articulated how any alleged deception triggered a sanctions risk to the bank.”
Urging the judge to admit the entirety of the infamous PowerPoint and other affidavit evidence from experts, Addario said treaty partners enjoy a “privilege” of having their versions of events presumed reliable but that “doesn’t include the privilege of writing the certified record of the case, knowing it’s going to the court in a way designed to trick the judge into thinking a sanctions violation was inevitable.” Meng returns to court in late October for the second branch of hearings into abuse of process motions brought by her defense team.