Canada Police, Border Agency Accused of Colluding to Get Huawei Exec's Passcodes

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A lawyer for Meng Wanzhou on Friday accused a Canadian border official of colluding with federal police to obtain passcodes to the Huawei executive's electronic devices.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer Scott Kirkland interrogated the Huawei chief financial officer for three hours during a stopover at the Vancouver airport in December 2018. He testified he made a "mistake" when he handed Meng's phone and computer passcodes to Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), who arrested her on a US warrant and seized her devices.

"I'm suggesting you and the RCMP coordinated your effort to be able to allow the CBSA to use their statutory mandate to obtain evidence that would be of assistance to other law enforcement," defence lawyer Mona Duckett said to Kirkland.

Kirkland rejected the allegation, saying it "doesn't make any sense." "I can't comprehend why I would want to do that, knowing multiple eyes are going to be on this case." Meng is wanted on fraud charges related to violations of US sanctions in Iran.

The defence contends that Canadian authorities conspired with the US to delay her arrest and obtain information that could be used at trial, in violation of her rights -- which Canada rejects. Kirkland testified it is common for travellers to be asked to hand over passwords and access codes during an immigration inspection, as was Meng.

"It was heart-wrenching to realize I'd made that mistake," he said about handing over the codes to federal police.

This week's cross-examinations of CBSA and RCMP officers form part of a defense bid to have the extradition case quashed, alleging abuses and errors during her arrest. More evidentiary hearings are scheduled for November that will dig into defense allegations that US President Donald Trump "poisoned" Meng's chance at a fair trial when he said he might intervene in her case for trade concessions from China.

The extradition case is scheduled to wrap up in April 2021