The ongoing witness testimony portion of the Meng Wanzhou extradition hearings is producing so much evidence for the court, Crown counsel and defence lawyers to process that the argument portion of the hearing – based on the unearthed evidence - may be delayed for a couple of months.
Crown attorney John Gibb-Carsley spoke to the court this morning, identifying the fact that the Crown may yet produce more witnesses to counter the questioning conducted so far by Meng’s defence team. The witness testimony portion of the case has already lasted three weeks – and is currently scheduled to take up the rest of this week and possibly another week in December.
As such, both Gibb-Carsley and defence lawyer Scott Fenton told Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes that – instead of making the argument on abuse-of-process as scheduled in February, that timeline is now “difficult,” and the court should consider moving that part of the hearings to April (coinciding with the sufficiency portion of the proceedings).
Holmes, however, expressed concerns that – even if the abuse-of-process arguments took place in February as scheduled – the two-month gap between testimony in December and the argument may prove challenging for the court to keep track of defence and Crown positions in the case.
“Courtroom availability may be an issue,” Holmes told Gibb-Carsley and Fenton. “... I will ask if it is possible. My bigger concern is the big gap between the evidence – and there is substantial amount of evidence – and the argument of that evidence.
“Regardless of the schedule, that period is too long.”
Fenton, in turn, has agreed to file summary of the defence position, how the evidence so far support those claims and how Meng’s team think the judge should consider in her ruling. That, he said, would help clarify for the court what information from the testimony should be considered for a ruling.
The Meng extradition hearings continue for the duration of this week.