The Law Courts in downtown Vancouver are under stress whenever Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou appears, according to the judge handling her extradition case.
Meng was not in court during a short-notice hearing on March 22 when Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes asked Meng’s representative, Mila Shah of Peck and Co., and federal Crown lawyer John Gibb-Carsley to find ways to ease the burden of Meng’s appearances on staff at the Law Courts.
Meng’s celebrity status as China’s most-powerful businesswoman with the country’s biggest multinational corporation has attracted unprecedented local and global media attention and drawn hundreds of curious members of the local Chinese community, including protesters for and against the Communist Party of China.
“Her attendance seems to attract an enormous amount of attention,” Holmes said. “A vast number of people attending the courthouse, as they’re entitled to do. It does place considerable stress on the court’s resources.”
Holmes asked for suggestions from either side to help balance public access with regular operations, “so that it does not overwhelm the other work of the court during these proceedings.”
“I’m not expressing a view on any of these subjects, but simply in anticipation,” Holmes said.
“It may have been difficult for Ms. Meng as well.”
Meng is expected to be in court on May 6 in Vancouver.
Holmes agreed to order the RCMP to create and provide Meng with forensic images of the contents of her Macbook Air laptop, iPad Pro, iPhone 7 Plus, Huawei Mate 20, Sandisk flash drive and two SIM cards that were seized when she was arrested Dec. 1, 2018 at Vancouver International Airport. Neither Shah nor Gibb-Carsley would answer any questions from reporters about the application and order.
Meng is living in her $5 million Dunbar house on $10 million bail, under electronic monitoring and curfew conditions. She is fighting extradition to the United States where authorities want to try her on charges of fraud. A date has yet to be fixed for the extradition hearing. The whole process, including appeals to higher courts, could take years. Meng has also sued the RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency, alleging that her constitutional rights were infringed upon when she was arrested.
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