Chief Financial Officer of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou leaves her home in Vancouver, Wednesday, October 28, 2020. Wanzhou is heading to the British Columbia Supreme Court in an evidentiary hearing on her extradition case on abuse of process argument. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Chief Financial Officer of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou leaves her home in Vancouver, Wednesday, October 28, 2020. Wanzhou is heading to the British Columbia Supreme Court in an evidentiary hearing on her extradition case on abuse of process argument. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

‘It has to be dealt with’: Border officer says examination of Meng was necessary

Scott Kirkland told the B.C. Supreme Court Wednesday that collecting the phone passcodes is routine

A border officer who assisted in the three-hour detention and examination of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou before her arrest at Vancouver’s airport two years ago says he didn’t intend to share passcodes for her phones with RCMP.

Scott Kirkland told the B.C. Supreme Court Wednesday that collecting the passcodes is routine during secondary examinations of foreign nationals by the Canada Border Services Agency.

But if he realized at the time that the piece of paper where he wrote them would be passed on to RCMP along with her devices, he would have acted immediately.

“I would have grabbed it back from them, because they’re not allowed to have it. It’s a Privacy Act violation, basically,” he said.

Kirkland is the second 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 defence has alleged there was a “co-ordinated strategy” to have the RCMP delay her arrest so border officials could question Meng under the pretence of a routine immigration exam.

The request by the United States for her extradition on fraud charges has soured relations between Canada and China.

Kirkland testified that border officers were simply doing their duty by screening Meng before her arrest, because they had their own suspicions of serious criminality and espionage that would affect her admissibility into the country.

Kirkland said he andSowmith Katragadda, his colleague who led her examination, only learned one hour before Meng’s arrival that the RCMP planned to arrest her. They did a quick search for Meng on internal databases and found news articles online involving allegations of American sanction violations and bans on Huawei technologies abroad, he said.

“At that point, we realized this was going to be a high-profile, international examination that just got put into our hands,” he said.

Border officers do not conduct criminal investigations but are required to investigate if they suspect someone is not admissible to Canada, he said. They do not require a search or arrest warrant, he said.

“It has to be dealt with,” he said. “If a person has a potential to be inadmissible to Canada, we can’t ignore it.”

Kirkland said CBSA made “abundantly clear” to RCMP that Mounties could not interfere in the process.

However, he raised a concern before her plane landed that delaying the arrest could be seen as violating her charter rights.

“It would potentially be seen as a delay, that our examination would be argued as a delay in due process for Ms. Meng,” he said.

At no point did he believe the CBSA examination was unlawful, however, he said.

Border officers collected her devices in an anti-static bag at the RCMP’s request after they identified her, Kirkland said.

Kirkland said he spent most of the examination monitoring Meng’s devices. When Katragadda asked him to collect her phone numbers, he also wrote down her passcodes, he said.

“It would be natural for me to do that, so I went ahead and asked for the passwords,” Kirkland said.

Typically, he returns the piece of paper with passcodes to the foreign national, as a reminder that they should change the codes after the examination.

The examination ended before officers actually searched the devices, he said. He didn’t realize until CBSA reviewed Meng’s apprehension days later that the paper was missing.

Earlier Wednesday, defence lawyer Richard Peck accused the RCMP officer who arrested Meng after the border examination of lying.

Const. Winston Yep testified that he didn’t want to infringe on CBSA jurisdiction by arresting Meng immediately after the plane landed and he was concerned boarding the plane for the arrest created too many safety risks.

“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.”

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

CourtCrime

Just Posted

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. Northern Health confirmed it has the lowest vaccination rates amongst the province’s five regional health authorities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination rates in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St James well below provincial average

COVID-19 immunization clinics for youth 12+ coming up in Fort St. James

Steve McAdam (left) is studying substrate conditions in the Nechako River and how they impact sturgeon eggs. The work will help design habitat restoration measures, said McAdam. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Sturgeon egg studies to help inform future habitat restoration

“It’s an interesting, challenging issue,” says Steve McAdam

Saik’uz First Nation Coun. Jasmine Thomas and Chief Priscilla Mueller speak about the need for addiction treatment facility near Vanderhoof, March 2021. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof addiction treatment centre tries again with ministry support

Agriculture minister insists she is not interfering in land commission

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Most Read