South china morning post
Bringing Meng Wanzhou to justice would be a “rule of law triumph,” said the Canadian government attorney
Bringing Meng Wanzhou to justice for fraud would be “a triumph for the rule of law,” said a government attorney at an extradition hearing for the executive director of Huawei Technologies Co. in Vancouver on Thursday when he heard allegations made by former US President Donald Trump and other politicians had irreparably tainted their trials. Meng’s defense team has portrayed her as a farmer in a new US-China Cold War battling for supremacy in 5G technology, in which Huawei plays a key role. They say the U.S. offer to extradite them from Canada to be tried in New York is poisoned and should be suspended, and that the case against them has been politicized, citing Trump’s 2018 claim he would intervene to enter into a trade agreement with China. Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China. Government attorney Robert Frater, who represented US interests before the British Columbia Supreme Court, poked fun at the argument. He told Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes that the defensive characterization of Trump’s remarks as “shocking, egregious, caustic, poisonous” were “adjectives seeking facts in support”. He said that Trump’s utterances did not conform to a dictionary or any definition of case law of what constituted a “threat” and that if a case were brought that the US attorney general was political, it could not be decided by a judge. Instead, this argument should be brought to the Canadian Attorney General if Holmes recommended that the extradition request be granted. The minister has the final say on whether extraditions are allowed. Frater also said the political interference argument is debatable because Trump is no longer president. “To hear these charges on the merits would be a triumph for the rule of law,” said Frater. Everyone in this courtroom knows that the elephant in the room in this case has always been the geopolitical winds that swirl around it. We urge you to focus on the facts and the law and leave politics to the politicians who have government attorney Robert Frater Meng’s attorneys. He invested a lot of time pointing out alleged weaknesses in the US case, saying: “However, if she is on trial and convicted or acquitted, justice is served.” Meng is accused of defrauding HSBC by lying about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, putting the bank at risk of violating U.S. sanctions against the country. On December 11, 2018, 10 days after Meng was arrested at Vancouver Airport, Trump was asked by Reuters if he would intervene in their case. He replied, “If I think it is good for what is surely the largest trade deal ever made – which is very important – which is good for national security, I would certainly intervene when I see it necessary.” Meng’s attorneys say HSBC “knew all about” Huawei’s Iranian business. Meng’s attorneys also cited comments from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on December 19, 2019 when he said, “The United States should not sign a final and full agreement with China that does not resolve the issue of Meng Wanzhou and the two Canadians” – Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were arrested by China days after Meng was arrested. China has charged Kovrig and Spavor with espionage, but Canada says they are hostages. On Wednesday, Meng’s attorney Richard Peck said Trump “co-opted the extradition process to use Ms. Meng and her extradition status” to support his trade war with China. He called the utterances “hideous” and an abuse of process. But Frater said Trump’s statements were immaterial and “anodyne” and that US and Canadian political figures have since rejected them. “Obnoxious” Trump statements are at the center of Meng’s extradition after Meng’s motion to stay the case over the statements was heard. That evidence has only deteriorated over time … and we believe the base never existed, ”said Frater. He added that there could be “no flawless separation” between politics and law enforcement, but it was Holmes’ job to ensure that politics did not intervene in the case. “Everyone in this courtroom knows that the elephant in the room in this case has always been the geopolitical winds swirling around it. With respect, we urge you to focus on the facts and the law and leave politics to the politicians.” he said Frater. Another Meng attorney, Eric Gottardi, later said the defense “took care not to say … that the charges were politically motivated”. Instead, they argued that there was an “inappropriate co-optation” of Meng’s prosecution by Trump. Gottardi advocated the admission of an affidavit by an expert on US law, Michael Gottlieb, and said the testimony showed that Trump displayed a “pattern of behavior” that amounted to undue interference in law enforcement. Gottardi said Frater tried to normalize Trump’s comments on Meng’s case. But if the utterances were normal, “how does he explain the immediate reaction to these utterances from both sides of the border,” said Gottardi, citing comments from former Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and US officials. “Why if you shouldn’t worry when you’re anodyne?” Asked Gottardi. Trudeau’s 2019 statement linking Meng’s case to a U.S. trade deal was not tempered by others in which Canadian officials attempted to separate the case from political considerations, Gottardi alleged. “It’s a very disturbing statement … my friend [Frater] says ‘you made a statement and the rest of them are good and one is bad’. Respectfully, that’s really bad. And the statement cannot be reversed, ”he said. In conclusion, Gottardi added, “That is [the] clearest cases. And this court should, in my opinion and our entire system, distance itself from what that [US] President proposed to happen and our Prime Minister agreed [should happen]. “The hearing was adjourned until March 15th. Further hearings in the extradition proceedings are expected to continue until mid-May. The appointment could last for years. Meng, CFO of Huawei Technologies and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, lived under partial house arrest in a Vancouver home while fighting extradition. This article would put Meng Wanzhou on trial “Triumph for the rule of law,” says the Canadian government attorney, first published in the South China Morning Post. For the latest news from the South China Morning Post, download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.