Judge, lawyers discuss how Meng Wanzhou extradition hearings will move forward during pandemic

Court seeks ways to accommodate social distancing measures

BC Supreme Court is looking at ways to proceed with the extradition hearing of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. CFO Meng Wanzhou despite social distancing measures  in place to combat the spread of COVID-19.

According to court documents, Meng and her lawyers – as well as Crown prosecutors – met via teleconference with associate chief justice Heather Holmes on Monday to discuss ways the hearings would continue. Options include a plan proposed by the defence that would require Meng to appear in court only if she wins the extradition hearings decision and avoids being extradited to the United States.

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The court last left off with the Crown and defence arguing whether Meng's alleged activities, which, according to U.S. Department of Justice officials, include violating sanctions in Iran, stealing trade secrets and money laundering - constitute crimes in Canada and therefore satisfy one of the key requirements for extradition. Holmes said she is unlikely to release her decision on that matter in the near future.

The case is adjourned until the next case management hearing on April 27, which will likely also be done through teleconferencing. Court cases in Canada have been suspended in Canada as hearings have been cancelled due to COVID-19, but Crown prosecutors said the uniqueness of the Meng case requires it to move forward.

The Meng case is one of the highest-profile legal proceedings in history and has been noted as the main cause of a sharp chilling of Canada-China ties since late 2018, when Meng was arrested at YVR while connecting from Hong Kong to Latin America.

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