Meng Wanzhou bail hearing: Judge reserves decision until late January

Meng Wanzhou | File photo: Chuck Chiang

The bail hearing for Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou continued this morning, with the presiding judge announcing he will reserve his decision on the Chinese tech executive's application to relax her conditions of release until January 29.

Justice William Ehrcke said he would like to hear from the sureties - or the individuals who signed the original bail conditions in December 2018 - who essentially put their word on the line in assuring Meng would follow bail conditions and not skip out on her extradition hearings if she were to be released into a monitored situation.

That would include Lions Gate Risk Management CEO Scot Filer - whose company is in charge of providing Meng's security detail and who has come under heavy criticism by Meng's legal team during the current bail hearing process.

"It wasn't by chance that Mr. Filer was a part of this," Ehrcke said. "It was a structural plan, proposed by the counsel of [Meng] at the time of the original bail hearing... The sureties in this case would in effect become the jailers of the applicant because there would be actual consequences if they fail in their duty [to secure Meng]."

Ehrcke added he would like to resume the bail hearing on Jan. 29, but will reserve his decision on the bail conditions before then.

Meng is seeking to eliminate the requirement of having security details follow her around outside her home during daytime hours as part of her bail conditions.

The bail hearing has revealed a number of bombshell facts not pertinent to the bail process, but provide insights into Meng's existence in Vancouver since 2018:

- Meng has received threatening letters while in Vancouver, including one case where bullets were sent to the Huawei executive.

- At least one individual has been accused of making such threats.

- The Chinese consulate in Vancouver requested Canada return Meng to China immediately after one such case of threats appeared.

- In May, in anticipation of a stay of extradition on the dual criminality topic, someone prepared a chartered China Southern Boeing 777 to fly Meng immediately back to China upon release. Who organized the flight is a topic of dispute: Testimony from both sides indicate it may have been the Chinese government or a private-sector subsidiary of Huawei.

- Meng considered enrolling her daughter in a Vancouver school in order to avoid long-term separation from her family. Prior to last month, the COVID pandemic travel restrictions prevented Meng's family from coming to Vancouver for almost a year.

- Meng's family may have violated B.C. travel quarantine rules by quarantining in the same house as Meng upon arrival from Hong Kong.

- Meng may have violated B.C. health orders by having dinners with staff outside her household bubble in November and December.

 

Earlier in the day, Meng defence lawyer Bill Smart began by going after Doug Maynard, president and COO of Lions Gate.,

Maynard told the court that he sees no reason for any changes to the current bail conditions - which include rules that Meng must be accompanied by a security detail wherever she goes and must be driven by the same security staff if she needed car transportation.

“If anything, the risks may be elevating,” Maynard said when asked if Meng still needed protection and monitoring of potential flight risk. “Nothing is happening now that would vary my approach to the situation.”

Smart, however, argued that Lions Gate’s recommendations are based on self interest- noting the company will lose approximately $170,000 in monthly revenue if they were to stop providing security detail to Meng during the daytime.

Smart added that Meng has shown no hint of even trying to escape during her time in Vancouver, and the presence of security staff is severely intruding on her home life.

“For two years, everywhere she goes, Lions Gate goes with her with at least two staff in close proximity,” Smart said “She can’t go to a department store and just walk around like everyone else.”

Smart also contended that security staff failed to wear masks around Meng, putting her at risk of COVID exposure.

Maynard countered that before Nov. 19, the team resorted to social distancing rather than masks in outdoor environments in accordance with provincial law. They have since switched to mask-wearing full-time.