Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. CFO Meng Wanzhou is seeking to change her bail conditions so that she is allowed to leave her Shaughnessy home outside curfew hours without being followed by a court-appointed security detail.
Meng, who appeared in court Tuesday in an application to change her bail conditions set in 2018, said the security detail makes it difficult to spend time with family in public - given the attention it attracts.
Liu Xiaozong, the husband of the Huawei executive appeared in court this morning to testify on his wife’s behalf, noting that the family (husband, daughter and Meng’s son from a previous marriage) was able to secure a one-time exemption to COVID travel restrictions and has been spending time with Meng in Vancouver for the last month or so.
However, the presence of the security detail - meant to mitigate the flight risk of Meng back to China during her extradition process - made public outings with Meng impossible, Liu testified.
Under the proposed change to bail conditions, Meng would continue to be monitored electronically during those hours outside curfew when she leaves her home, the application said.
The affidavit provided by Liu also noted he is concerned about his wife being in constant close contact with Lions Gate Risk Management staff - the team that was ordered by the court (but paid for by Meng) to monitor Meng during her detention in Vancouver.
The affidavit said Meng is a thyroid cancer survivor and suffers from hypertension - both of which puts her at greater risk of more serious symptoms if she contracted COVID-19 from others (such as her security detail team members).
In cross examination of Liu’s testimony, Crown lawyer John Gibb-Carsley argued that the level of concern levied toward Lions Gate agents by Meng’s defence is somewhat hypocritical, since both the husband and Meng’s children arrived in Vancouver from Hong Kong (the husband in October, the children in December) and quarantined in the Shaughnessy house where Meng lives.
When questioned, the husband admitted both he and the children had contact with Meng within the 14-day quarantine period.
In addition, Gibb-Carsley also confirmed through questioning of Liu that the Chinese venture capitalist joined Meng in hosting dinners at restaurants four times since Liu’s arrival this fall - in groups of about 10 people that included people not in Meng’s household. (which potentially broke current B.C. Public health orders surrounding COVID).
Liu countered under Huawei lawyers’ redirect that the other members at those dinners are all part of Meng’s Huawei team in Vancouver - who relocated here from China without their families to aid Meng in company operations. Those team members have no local contacts except with one another, Liu added, and seven of them were vaccinated in China prior to arrival in Vancouver.
Gibb-Carsley also noted to Liu that the current bail conditions do not limit his and his family’s ability to spend time with Meng (such as going to the grocery store or parks) even if they do not get to the destination in the same vehicle.
The bail conditions also do not affect spending time together at home, Gibb-Carsley added.
Liu said the presence of security detail around Meng means that her presence outside the home almost always draws a crowd (with people often taking pictures). The children are especially wary of having their right to privacy breached, he added.
Meng’s husband also downplayed Meng’s flight risk, telling the court the Huawei CFO “wants to set an example” for her children.
The bail hearing also saw a second witness - Lions Gate president/COO Doug Maynard, who said Meng should have little worry about potentially contracting COVID from his employees, since several of them (including Maynard himself) are immuno-compromised and are thus extraordinarily cautious in carrying out its health safety plan.
Maynard noted steps such as the use of PPEs, thorough disinfection of vehicles and the move to keep staff members on the Meng case from working other cases.
“We are a risk mitigation company,” Maynard told the court. “We have to show to our clients and staff we can mitigate these risks.”
The Lions Gate executive also noted his company has closed its office months ago, conducting business virtually in the meantime.
Maynard also directed some criticism towards what his team observed as behaviour not allowed under B.C. health guidelines by Meng’s team since the pandemic started in March. He noted that the infamous photo shoot of a group of Meng’s associates in front of the court house in May - possibly in anticipation of a legal victory in the dual criminality portion of the extradition hearings (that did not happen) - saw many people in close proximity without masks.
He added that at gatherings last month attended by Meng and her team members, security staff saw people outside of Meng’s household intermingling freely - including one instance of drinking from the same cup, showing low levels of concern for contracting COVID-19.
The bail hearing continues tomorrow.