(Corrects the name of defense attorney from Robert to Richard in the 6th paragraph)
By Sarah Berman and Moira Warburton
VANCOUVER, March 4 (Reuters) – Canadian prosecutors told a court on Thursday that a judge was not in the best position to decide whether national security and geopolitical concerns could be used to quash the United States’ demand for ‘extradite Meng, chief financial officer of Huawei Wanzhou.
Meng, 49, was arrested in December 2018 on a US arrest warrant accused of misleading HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, putting the bank at risk of violating US sanctions. She said she was innocent and was fighting her house arrest extradition case in Vancouver.
Prosecutors argued Thursday that if Meng had become a bargaining chip in a trade war between the United States and China, as his lawyers have claimed, then Canada’s justice minister is the right fit for it. decide, not a judge.
Canada’s extradition process states that a judge will first decide whether an extradition request is legal, before the country’s justice minister makes a final decision on whether to extradite that person.
Meng’s lawyers demanded that her case be dismissed, arguing that she had become a bargaining chip in a trade war between China and the United States. They highlighted statements by former US President Donald Trump in December 2018, when he said he would intervene in the case if it served national security interests or helped secure a trade deal with China.
Canadian prosecutor Robert Frater said a B.C. Supreme Court judge would not be able to determine whether Huawei indeed posed a threat to U.S. national security, as defense attorney Richard Peck suggested it on Wednesday.
“Peck can’t prove it’s wrong, I can’t prove it’s true,” Frater said. “The only thing you can do is assume good faith.”
On Wednesday, Frater called Trump’s comments “vague” and listed statements from other relevant actors in the US government who spoke out against the interference.
“Everyone in this courtroom knows that the elephant in the courtroom in this case has always been the geopolitical winds swirling around him,” Frater said, adding that the defense had attempted to translate the elephant into justice.
He urged the judge to focus on the facts and the law and “leave politics to the politicians”.
Diplomatic relations between Ottawa and Beijing were severed following Meng’s arrest. A few days later, China arrested two Canadians for espionage, which Canada considered retaliation.
Meng’s case is expected to end hearings in May. (Reporting by Sarah Berman and Moira Warburton in Vancouver editing by Denny Thomas and Matthew Lewis)