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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria School for Ideal Education at 2820 Belmont Avenue is the second school in Greater Victoria with an active confirmed COVID-19 exposure. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Private school becomes second Greater Victoria school with COVID-19 exposure

Victoria School for Ideal Education follows Lakeview Christian School in Saanich

Vehicles involved crashes in Oak Bay from 2019. (ICBC Screenshot)
A crash on Foul Bay Road near Carnarvon Street in 2018. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Foul Bay Road a corridor of crashes in 2019

Last year, 63 crashes in Oak Bay involved vehicles

A seabin is able to intercept and collect floating debris in calm bodies of water. This is one of two installed in the North Saanich Marina by a group of local businesses thanks to the proceeds from Blue Friday sales in 2019. (Provided by Maya Bellay)
Blue Friday to support more trash skimmers in Greater Victoria waters

Seabins can collect up to one-and-a-half tons of floating debris per year

An economic recovery plan in progress since April offers various recommendations for the region to overcome the impacts of COVID-19. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Greater Victoria economic ‘reboot’ plan tackles impacts of COVID-19

Newly-formed task force looks at various sectors, industries

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Claudio Mastronardi, Toronto branch manager at Carmichael Engineering, is photographed at the company’s offices in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. As indoor air quality becomes a major concern in places of business, HVAC companies are struggling to keep up with demand for high quality filtration systems. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Business is booming for HVAC companies as commercial buildings see pandemic upgrades

‘The demand right now is very high. People are putting their health and safety ahead of cost’

Bank of Montreal, located on Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver. (Google Maps)
Heiltsuk man files human rights complaint against Vancouver police, BMO after bank arrest

Pair remains distraught after employee falsely reports fraud in progress leading to their arrest

RCMP Cpl. Cory Lepine pictured at BC Livestock Producers Co. in Kamloops, Nov. 16. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Meet B.C.’s only cowboy cop; a voice for the livestock industry

Cpl. Cory Lepine serves as a bridge between the law and those who make a living off the land

BCHL
BCHL pushes back season start due to provincial health orders

The delay is minimal, just six days, for now. But the league is open to starting up after Christmas

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Long-awaited federal rent subsidy program for businesses hurt by COVID-19 opens today

The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest

Most Read