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Vancouver, Jan. 22: Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou leaves B.C. Supreme Court on a lunch break during her extradition hearing.

Jennifer Gauthier/Reuters

The latest

  • The first round of Meng Wanzhou’s extradition hearings concluded Thursday, after the Huawei executive’s defence team and the Crown argued over whether U.S. sanctions against Iran should factor into a Canadian decision about handing her over to American prosecutors. Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes reserved judgment and adjourned the court, leaving Ms. Meng’s fate unclear for now.
  • Earlier this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ruled out trading the Huawei executive for two Canadians jailed in China. “We are a country of the rule of law and we will abide by the rule of law,” Mr. Trudeau said outside a cabinet retreat in Winnipeg on Tuesday.


What you’ve missed in court so far

Vancouver, Jan. 20: Ms. Meng leaves B.C. Supreme Court for a lunch break during the first day of her extradition hearing.

Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

What are these hearings about?

Ms. Meng’s court appearances in Vancouver this week were not a criminal trial: The charges of fraud she faces are from U.S. prosecutors, who asked their Canadian counterparts to arrest Ms. Meng in December of 2018. These hearings were to decide whether she should be extradited to the United States to be tried on those charges, which involve her employer, Huawei, allegedly using a subsidiary to sell telecom equipment in Iran, defying U.S. sanctions against that country. The U.S. prosecutors say Ms. Meng lied to American banks about Huawei’s relationship with the subsidiary, Skycom Tech, which Huawei denies it controls. Both Ms. Meng and Huawei deny any wrongdoing.

Jan. 20: ‘double criminality’

Jan. 20: Ms. Meng is shown in a courtroom sketch.

Jane Wolsak/Reuters

For Ms. Meng’s lawyers, the key question on the first day of hearings was about “double criminality”: whether the offence Ms. Meng is accused of in the United States would also be a crime if committed in Canada, which is a requirement under the Canada-U.S. extradition treaty. Fraud is a crime in both countries, but lead defence lawyer Richard Peck argued that, because Canada dropped its own sanctions against Iran in 2016, her actions would not be illegal here, and so the extradition should not be allowed:

Fraud is a facade. Would we be here in the absence of U.S. sanctions law? The response is no. ... It is a fiction to contend that the United States has any general interest in policing private dealings between a foreign bank and a foreign citizen on the other side of the world. However, it is the case that the United States has a global interest in enforcing its sanctions policy. Sanctions drive this case.

Jan. 20: Pro-Meng supporters stand outside the courthouse.

Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

About two dozen protesters demanding Ms. Meng’s release amassed outside the courtroom. One of them, Vancouver actor Julia Hackstaff, later revealed that she was duped into attending by the promise of paid film-extra work, but left soon after a journalist started asking her questions and she realized it was for real:

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At the moment, I still thought it was an actor or someone. I still thought, okay, maybe they want extra material from the background actors. But after two or three questions, I obviously noticed that she was a professional journalist with professional equipment, asking real questions. That’s when I totally freaked out. ... It’s a big, big lesson for me to take care of myself and ask more questions about what I’m getting myself into.

Day 2: Are we clear?

Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes, right, and Eric Gottardi, one of Ms. Meng's lawyers.

Jane Wolsak/The Canadian Press

As defence arguments continued, Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes said she was struggling to understand details of their case. She challenged lawyer Eric Gottardi with a hypothetical question about how this would be prosecuted differently if a Canadian did something that would cause financial loss to a bank, as the U.S. prosecutors allege Ms. Meng did when she dealt with American banks. Associate Chief Justice Holmes brought up other examples, such as Canada’s extradition of arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber to Germany on tax-evasion charges. Mr. Gottardi’s written answer argued that the key issue is whether dishonest acts cause harm to someone else, and in the case of the U.S. banks and Ms. Meng, he claimed no harm could have occurred to the banks because of what Ms. Meng them.

Day 3: The Canadian values test

Crown counsel Robert Frater now tried to persuade the judge that she didn’t necessarily need to take U.S. sanctions law into account when deciding the question of fraud. In an exchange with Mr. Frater, Associate Chief Justice Holmes asked whether it’s okay to extradite someone to a “foreign legal context” that was “utterly objectionable to Canadian values,” such as a fraud case involving slave labour in a regime where slavery is legal. Mr. Fraser agreed with her in a general sense, but said this was not such a case. He then cited the Schreiber tax-evasion case, which the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled on in 2001. That court found it was up to the federal justice minister, not the judge at the extradition hearing, to decide if the context of a foreign law is just or not. She appeared to push back at this, saying that today, judges’ rulings are expected to take the Charter of Rights and Freedoms into account more closely.

A who’s who

In the courtroom

Meng Wanzhou and her lawyer, Richard Peck.

Reuters, The Canadian Press

Meng Wanzhou: Chief financial officer of the Chinese telecom company Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. She was arrested on a stopover at Vancouver’s airport on Dec. 1, 2018, at the request of U.S. prosecutors. Since then, she has lived under house arrest at her Vancouver mansion.

Richard Peck: The lead lawyer on Ms. Meng’s defence team. Colleagues described him to The Globe and Mail as old-fashioned, English-style barrister whose career has included some of Canada’s most challenging and complicated criminal cases.

Heather Holmes: The B.C. Supreme Court judge who is hearing Ms. Meng’s case.

In China

Clockwise from top left: Ren Zhengfei, Dominic Barton, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

The Globe and Mail, The Canadian Press, The Associated Press

Ren Zhengfei: Ms. Meng’s father and the founder of Huawei. He denies U.S. prosecutors’ accusations against his daughter and his company, but says his feud is more with Washington (which has barred U.S. companies from using Huawei products in developing 5G wireless networks) than with Canada (which has not yet decided whether to institute its own ban on Huawei technology).

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor: A Canadian ex-diplomat and businessman, respectively, who were detained in China soon after Ms. Meng’s arrest in 2018 and accused of stealing state secrets. They have been in detention for more than a year, subjected to strenuous interrogations without access to lawyers and only once-a-month access to consular services.

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Dominic Barton: Canada’s ambassador to China since last September. He’s been a key figure in trying to free Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor and dissuade China from further trade penalties against Canadian canola, pork and other products in retaliation for Ms. Meng’s continued prosecution.

When will a decision be made?

David Lametti speaks to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after being presented as Attorney-General at a Rideau Hall cabinet ceremony in November, 2019.

Blair Gable/Reuters

The court proceedings in B.C. could take months to reach a conclusion about whether Ms. Meng’s extradition is lawful – but even that wouldn’t be the end of it. Ultimately, the decision to extradite lies with federal Attorney-General David Lametti, whose terms of reference under Section 44 of the Extradition Act say he shall refuse the extradition if it would be “unjust or oppressive having regard to all the relevant circumstances.” If he says yes to extradition, Ms. Meng can apply for a judicial review. If she loses, she would be sent to the United States to be tried.

The bigger political picture

Washington, Jan. 15, 2020: U.S. President Donald Trump signs a trade agreement with Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He.

Evan Vucci/The Associated Press

The Meng case is only one way in which Canada has been caught in the middle of a Sino-American tug of war in recent years. The U.S. charges against Ms. Meng and Huawei were launched during an escalating tariff war between the United States and China, and at the time, U.S. President Donald Trump suggested he might intervene with the Justice Department on Ms. Meng’s behalf if he could secure a trade deal with Beijing. Now, there is such a trade deal, though many U.S. sanctions remain in place against Chinese products.

But the Justice Department’s case is continuing against Huawei, whose technology Washington fears could be used for surveillance or cyberwarfare. The United States and Australia have pressed other countries in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, such as Canada and Britain, to follow suit. Canada’s government is conducting an internal review and has yet to announce a decision. Huawei, meanwhile, has pinned hopes for its future on Canada, planning to relocate its research and development wings there.

More reading

The Meng case, in depth

Meng Wanzhou’s extradition: The overlap of law and politics explained

Inside the final hours that led to the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou

From arrest to house arrest to extradition hearings: Inside Meng Wanzhou's Vancouver life

Meng extradition hearing has drawn close scrutiny from advocates for human rights and judicial reform in China

Spavor and Kovrig

365 days of detention in China: What life is like for Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig

Chrétien’s former chief of staff calls for ‘prisoner exchange’ with China to free Canadians Kovrig, Spavor

Opinion and analysis

Times Wang and Ti-Anna Wang: The real winner out of Meng Wanzhou’s hearing? Canada’s rule of law

Editorial: Canada is facing China’s brutal might and our main ally – the U.S. – is AWOL

John Ibbitson: With China and the U.S., Canada is caught between two belligerent, aggressive powers

Gary Mason: Canada’s troubles with China don’t end with Meng Wanzhou


Compiled by Globe staff

With reports from Sean Fine, Nathan VanderKlippe, Andrea Woo and Xiao Xu

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