A British Columbia Supreme Court judge reserved his decision on Wednesday whether to relax bail restrictions on Chinese technology manager Meng Wanzhou, who is fighting extradition to the United States.
Judge William Ehrcke, who first released Meng on bail after her arrest at Vancouver Airport in December 2018, will deliver his verdict on January 29.
Meng’s attorneys have asked the court to approve changes to her bail agreement that would allow her to leave her Vancouver home outside of her nightly curfew without the presence of private security guards.
Her husband Liu Xiaozong is visiting Vancouver and testifying Tuesday that Meng has health problems. He said he believed their proximity to security guards puts them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.
Doug Maynard, president of Lions Gate Risk Management, told the court that its employees follow the strictest health protocols when working with Meng.
Huawei’s chief financial officer is wanted in the US for fraud allegations based on allegations that both she and the company deny.
Maynard testified Wednesday that he believes there are risks assessed when Meng was first given bail, including the potential to harm Meng, her “expulsion” from Canada and that she might try to flee.
Maynard also told the court that the shackle Meng wears to track her whereabouts can be “defeated” and has failed on numerous occasions.
Both technical and security personnel are required to monitor Meng, he said.
“Without the human element, there is only one layer that is just the bracelet, and that can either be removed or tampered with quite quickly.”
Maynard agreed on cross-examination that security did not need to intervene to physically protect Meng while she was on bail.
William Smart, an attorney for Meng, suggested that Lions Gate would lose about $ 170,000 a month if they stopped escorting Meng outside.
“I do not dispute your integrity, but Lions Gate has a financial interest in maintaining the current bond conditions, does it not?”
“It would be a loss of revenue,” Maynard said, agreeing on the approximate amount while determining that it would be revenue before the cost of doing business and the monthly loss would not be as high as $ 170,000.
John Gibb-Carsley, an attorney for the Canadian Attorney General, argued Meng remains an escape risk with significant resources at her disposal.
But another Meng’s attorney, Mona Duckett, cited an affidavit from her client saying she would never do anything that would damage Huawei’s reputation.
“I believe that violating my bond conditions would cause such damage,” Meng said in the document.
Duckett told the court that through the length of her bail agreement, Meng had shown that the judge’s trust in her was well invested.
She said it was not a realistic risk “to suggest that (Meng) would purposely make herself a refugee by fleeing rather than continuing to fight vigorously against this extradition.”
Ehrcke noted that Meng’s original bond agreement included a requirement that Scot Filer, CEO of Lions Gate, post a bond of $ 1,000.
After consulting with Filer’s corporate attorney on Wednesday, Duckett told the court that she learned that Filer was unwilling to continue acting as a surety if the court upheld her request to change Meng’s bail conditions.
US officials accuse Meng of misrepresenting Huawei’s Iranian business dealings with HSBC, putting the bank at risk of violating American sanctions.
Meng’s attorneys fight her extradition with several arguments claiming she was exposed to abuse of procedure and should be released.
They claim the arrest of Meng was unlawful, the US authorities misled Canadian officials in their summary of the case, Meng was used as a political pawn by US President Donald Trump and the United States is trying to assert its jurisdiction there to assert international law where it does not exist.
This story was produced with financial support from Facebook and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.
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