RCMP gave FBI serial numbers, other details about Meng Wanzhou’s phones: defence

Meng Wanzhou says the RCMP illegally passed on serial numbers and other crucial details

A lawyer for Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou says the RCMP illegally passed on serial numbers and other crucial details of her electronic devices to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but the Crown denies the allegation.

Scott Fenton said Mounties provided information that enables U.S. authorities to find out calls made and received, phone numbers, time and duration of calls and the physical location of cell towers where calls were connected.

“This is a very serious matter,” Fenton told a British Columbia Supreme Court judge on Thursday.

“The provision of this technical information is a gateway to U.S. law enforcement taking other investigative steps … to get other information to use against Ms. Meng.”

Meng’s lawyers are in court seeking documents that they believe would prove allegations that American and Canadian officials conspired to conduct a “covert criminal investigation” at Vancouver’s airport.

The U.S. is seeking her extradition on fraud charges linked to alleged violations of sanctions against Iran, which Meng and Huawei deny. She was arrested during a stopover at the airport on Dec. 1, 2018.

A lawyer for the Canadian government told the judge it’s simply not true that RCMP forwarded details about Meng’s phones, laptop, tablet or any other devices to the FBI.

“My friend says it’s a very serious allegation and we believe it’s not a fact,” said Robert Frater.

Fenton replied that his assertion was based on an RCMP officer’s notes, which say a staff sergeant emailed an FBI liaison the devices’ serial numbers, SIM card numbers and international mobile equipment identity numbers. The identity numbers allow U.S. authorities to learn significant information about call history, the defence said.

After a break, Frater produced two emails from the staff sergeant in which he said he did not provide the information to the FBI. He also proposed that the judge direct the Crown to produce documents from five RCMP officers on the topic.

However, the defence insisted that the new evidence from the staff sergeant was merely “hearsay.”

“We have grave concerns that this information is not correct,” Fenton said.

READ MORE: Border officers couldn’t have legally arrested Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou: Crown

Justice Heather Holmes directed the Crown to obtain affidavits from the five officers by next Wednesday. The defence will then have until Oct. 16 to respond and decide whether it wants to apply to cross-examine the officers.

The judge reserved her decision on the defence’s overall application for disclosure.

While the devices were ultimately not passed on to the FBI, Fenton told the court that the original plan was for the U.S. agency to acquire them.

Following a morning meeting of RCMP and CBSA officers on Dec. 1, a Mountie wrote in her notes that the border guards would obtain Meng’s phones “as per FBI request.”

The Crown has said a forensic examination showed that neither the CBSA nor the RCMP searched the devices. But Fenton said the exam did show that on Dec. 4, several devices were turned on and at least one was connected to internet.

That was the same day that the RCMP officer’s notes said the device details were passed on to the FBI, and another officer wrote that he had photographed the devices and removed the SIM cards, Fenton said.

The RCMP violated the Extradition Act when it provided this information to the FBI, he argued.

The FBI has since dropped its request for the devices, but Fenton described that decision as “an effort at damage control” and added the agency may have already gleaned significant information from the items.

“A reasonable inference may be made that they don’t want the devices anymore because they don’t need them,” he said.

Fenton also criticized the Crown for its recent admission that border guards “mistakenly” provided Meng’s passcodes to the RCMP.

The defence argues that a plan was hatched during the morning meeting on Dec. 1 to have border guards interrogate Meng before the RCMP executed the provisional arrest warrant, robbing her of her right to a lawyer or silence.

The court heard CBSA seized her devices and wrote down the passcodes on a piece of paper, both of which they passed to the RCMP at the time of her arrest.

Fenton questioned why handing over the passcodes was being described as a mistake, but not providing the devices. He argued that none of what unfolded was an accident.

“To describe this as an error is to mischaracterize the seriousness of all of the conduct,” he said. “All of the conduct was purposeful and taken in furtherance of the plan that was set that morning.”

He also argued that a border guard’s interview of Meng was inappropriate and crossed into the realm of evidence-gathering. The officer didn’t tell Meng she was facing an arrest warrant but asked her about Huawei’s business in Iran.

In addition to seeking document disclosure, the defence has also suggested a stay of proceedings. The Crown has said there’s no evidence that would justify such a draconian measure, but Fenton disagreed.

“You have powerful evidence pointing to an air of reality that the remedy for these cumulative abuses of law, that also involve multiple serious violations of Ms. Meng’s constitutional rights, would justify a stay of proceedings,” he said.

The arrest of Meng, who is Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei, sparked a diplomatic crisis between Canada and China. Her extradition trial is scheduled to begin in January.

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Houston homicide suspect remanded in custody

A Houston man accused of the second degree murder of Elija Dumont… Continue reading

Northern B.C. First Nation communities hold “Rally for the river” in Prince George

Saik’uz and Stellat’en First Nation have taken Rio Tinto BC Works to court over their operation and construction of the Kenney Dam

Want better internet? Complete an online survey by the RDBN

The regional district is doing a survey to understand internet requirements that… Continue reading

Vikings played well this season, says coach

The double-A varsity football team from NVSS received ten northern conference All-Stars

Salvation Army aims to raise $25,000 through the Christmas Kettle program

Last year the organization raised $20,000 for various social needs in the community

VIDEO: Ron MacLean says he doesn’t believe former co-host Don Cherry is racist

Sportsnet fired Cherry on Nov. 11, two days after controversial on-air comments during ‘Coach’s Corner’

‘Our culture is not a religion,’ indigenous educator tells B.C. Supreme Court in case of smudging at school

Mother also gave evidence Tuesday in Nanaimo courtroom, case continues Wednesday

B.C. man who killed Belgian tourist near Boston Bar gets life in prison, no parole until 2042

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

Trudeau to take sober approach to unveiling new cabinet for minority mandate

Liberals survived a bruising campaign that diminished Trudeau’s stature as a champion of diversity

Lowe’s says it will close 34 ‘underperforming’ stores across six provinces

The stores include 26 Ronas, six Lowe’s and two Reno-Depots

B.C. to advocate for frustrated, confused, unhappy cellphone users, says premier

Maple Ridge New Democrat Bob D’Eith to advocate for more affordable and transparent cellphone options

‘Very disrespectful’: B.C. first responder irked by motorists recording collisions on cellphones

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue deputy chief challenges motorists to break the habit

Daily cannabis linked to reduction in opioid use: B.C. researchers

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and chronic pain

Most Read