Meng Wanzhou scores victory as lawyers allowed to argue U.S. tried to trick Canada

Meng Wanzhou scored a victory in her battle to fight extradition Thursday as the judge overseeing the proceedings agreed to let the Huawei executive’s lawyers pursue their claim that the United States misled Canada about the basics of the case.

In a ruling posted online, Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes said there was an “air of reality to Ms. Meng’s allegations of abuse of process in relation to the requesting state’s conduct.”

At a hearing held last month, the chief financial officer’s lawyers said they believed the evidence was strong enough to prove that the United States omitted key components of the case that undermine allegations of fraud against their client.

Holmes’ ruling means Meng’s lawyers will be able to include those claims as one of three lines of attack in February, when they try to convince the judge that the entire case should be thrown out for abuse of process.

In her ruling, Holmes noted that staying the proceedings against Meng was a possibility if the defence can make its case, but that she might also consider a less drastic remedy, like cutting out parts of the Crown’s record deemed unreliable.

Judge rules new evidence allowed

Meng is charged with fraud and conspiracy in the United States in relation to allegations that she lied to HSBC about Huawei’s relationship with a hidden subsidiary that was accused of violating U.S. economic sanctions against Iran.

Prosecutors claim that by lying to HSBC to continue a financial relationship, Meng placed the bank at risk of loss and prosecution for breaching the same sanctions.

The U.S. claims Meng Wanzhou lied to an HSBC banker in a PowerPoint about Huawei’s relationship with a subsidiary accused of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. (Chan Long Hei/Bloomberg)

As part of the extradition process, the United States provided a record of the case that includes slides from the PowerPoint presentation Meng gave an HSBC executive in Hong Kong in August 2013.

But Meng’s lawyers claim the U.S. deliberately omitted two slides from the PowerPoint that showed Meng didn’t mislead the bank.

And they also claim that where the U.S. said only “junior” employees knew about the real relationship between Huawei and its subsidiary, senior executives at the bank were also aware.

In her ruling, Holmes said she would allow two statements from the missing slides to be included as evidence in the extradition case. She also agreed to allow evidence about HSBC’s management structure to help determine who is junior and who is not.

Rights violation issue not raised, CBSA agent testifies

Holmes released her decision even as Meng’s lawyers were in court gathering evidence related to the second line of argument that there was an abuse of process: the claim that her rights were violated at the time of her arrest.

Meng was questioned by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers for three hours before she was arrested on Dec. 1, 2018, after her arrival at Vancouver’s airport on a flight from Hong Kong.

A still from a video of Meng Wanzhou first few hours in CBSA custody. The defence claims her rights were violated during that time. (B.C. Supreme Court)

The defence team claims the CBSA and RCMP conspired with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to mount a covert criminal investigation into Meng by using the border agency’s extraordinary powers to question her without a lawyer.

The CBSA agent who seized Meng’s phones was on the stand Thursday for his second day of testimony.

Border services officer Scott Kirkland testified that he believed there were grounds to question Meng about the possibility she might be involved in espionage. 

During his testimony Wednesday, Kirkland said that was because the CBSA’s internal system has flagged her for “national security” reasons, but he admitted in cross-examination Thursday that this might not have been the case. Meng’s lawyer suggested that she was only targeted because of the criminal charges.

Kirkland also said he thought the RCMP should have arrested Meng immediately, before the CBSA carried out its inquiries, because he worried about the impact of a delay on her right to obtain legal counsel.

Kirkland said he knew the high profile case would end up in court.

But he said he didn’t raise the issue of possible Charter of Rights and Freedoms violations out loud. And no one else among the RCMP and CBSA officers who were present said the word “Charter.”

Two weeks have been set aside in February 2021 for arguments about the record of the case and the alleged violation of Meng’s rights at the time of her arrest.

The third defence claim relates to allegations that U.S. President Donald Trump has politicized the case by threatening to use Meng as a bargaining chip to get a better deal with China.

Holmes noted in her ruling that if any one of those lines of argument were proven, they might not be enough in and of themselves to derail the case, but the cumulative effect of all of them might end in a stay. 

Meng has denied the allegations against her. 

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How Collingwood “missed a trick” in Friday night’s loss to Brisbane

Garry Lyon believes Collingwood “missed a trick” by not taking full advantage of Harris Andrews’ absence after he injured his hamstring in the third quarter of Friday night’s game.

Andrews, who is arguably the game’s most in-form defender, ended the night with ice on his hamstring as Brisbane closed out a narrow eight-point win to return to second spot on the ladder.

After the 23-year-old sustained the injury, Lyon said the Pies weren’t able to “make the most” of Brisbane’s “glaring” omission.

“I can’t help but think that Collingwood have missed a trick here particularly after half time with Harris Andrews (being injured),” he said on AFL Nation.

“They didn’t take advantage of it, it’s as glaring as an opportunity presented to them as you possible can have and it wasn’t until three quarter-time that (Collingwood) started to get pro-active about it.

“Grant Birchall’s value in Brisbane’s side is his experience but never once did I see Collingwood once try and isolate him.

“This is the way footy is played these days, teams go out and say ‘this is how we’re going to play’ and they don’t react to the opposition’s circumstances.”

Lyon pointed out the height differential of the 211cm Mason Cox compared to his 192cm opponent in defender Ryan Lester.

Collingwood wasn’t able to isolate Cox against his opponent in the minutes after Andrews left the ground and Lyon said it was a missed opportunity.

“Mason Cox didn’t get a one-on-one with Ryan Lester for the whole third quarter,” he said.

“The first two he got in the last quarter, he out-marked him. It’s as plain as the nose on your face, give him an opportunity, and I’m not saying it as a knock on Ryan Lester, that is the time where you do have an advantage with Mason Cox, when Harris Andrews is off the ground and you’ve got a foot advantage on the defender.”

The Pies are currently sitting in sixth spot on the ladder and have a handy one-and-a-half game buffer from ninth spot with two games remaining.

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Quade Cooper wows social media with another trick pass

Quade Cooper is at it again.

The former Wallabies star spent lockdown delighting social media with his NFL trick passes and he’s offered up another example of his outrageous skill level.

In April, Cooper posted a video on his Instagram account of him nailing a 30-40m behind-the-back pass that hit Brisbane Broncos star Tevita Pangai Jr on the chest.

The clip went viral around the world, getting noticed in the UK, United States and Canada as American commentators cracked jokes about the rugby player taking over from quarterback Tom Brady at the New England Patriots.

Days later, Cooper went one better with a ridiculous over-the-back spiral pass that once again found Pangai Jr perfectly as he ran onto the ball.

Cooper added to his highlights reel today with the perfect bluff that left one of his training partners crying foul.

Simulating an NFL play, the 32-year-old shaped to pass to a receiver but as the defender split off in a different direction, Cooper went behind his back with a bullet pass that never looked like missing the intended target.

As you can see in the video below, not even his mate had any idea what was coming.

RELATED: World loses it over Cooper’s ridiculous trick pass

Fellow rugby star Karmichael Hunt was certainly impressed, giving Cooper a score of 100 followed by a fire emoji on Twitter.

All Black Nehe Milner-Skudder also liked what he say, commenting on Instagram with three flame emojis while ex-Wallaby Digby Ioane wrote: “Body the best I’ve seen in years … Looking ripped champion.”

Irish rugby star Simon Zebo was another to give the trick play his tick of approval on Instagram.

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