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

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

Winlaw artist Lou Lynn is one of eight Canadians to win a Governor General's award this year. Photo: Janet Dwyer
Winlaw artist Lou Lynn wins Governor General’s award

Lynn is among eight artists honoured throughout Canada

The winged floater mussel can be spotted at Arrow Lake. Photo: Bill Chapman
LETTER: Native mussels visible at Arrow Lakes near Castlegar

Low water levels revealing native mussels

Castlegar’s Gabrielle Herle (right) will be one of the speakers at the conference. She is seen here with Wendy Gaskill from Chinook Scaffolding accepting their Contractor of the Year Award in 2019 from the Builders Code Champion Awards. Photo: Submitted
Girls in STEAM and Leadership Conference offered free for all girls in the Kootenay Boundary

Virtual conference for girls in grades 8 to 12 will be taking place on March 8

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Most Read