Border officer says information sharing was discussed with RCMP before Huawei exec’s arrest

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VANCOUVER —
A border officer who assisted in the examination of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver’s airport before her arrest two years ago says information sharing was discussed with RCMP before she landed.

Scott Kirkland told the B.C. Supreme Court today that during a meeting between Canada Border Services Agency and RCMP officers before Meng’s plane landed, someone raised the question of how information collected by border officials could be legally obtained by police.

Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Mona Duckett, Kirkland agreed that section 107 of the Customs Act was brought up in the meeting in the context of how the RCMP could legally obtain information from a customs and immigration exam.

He agreed that it was raised in anticipation that border officials may discover information worth sharing.

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Kirkland is the second in a series of witnesses called to testify at the request of Meng’s defence team, which is gathering evidence for arguments it will make next year that she was subjected to an abuse of process.

The defence has alleged there was a “co-ordinated strategy” to have the RCMP delay her arrest so border officials could question Meng under the pretence of a routine immigration exam.

Kirkland testified that he couldn’t recall whether it was an RCMP or border officer who raised the Customs Act on the issue of information sharing.

“It was brought up in the context of how the RCMP could legally obtain information from your examination?” Duckett asked.

“Yes,” Kirkland said.

“So in advance of the examination, there was a discussion of the sharing of information obtained, right?”

“Yes,” he said.

“In anticipation of getting information worth sharing?” Duckett asked.

“If that arose, yes.”

Kirkland has previously testified that border officers made “abundantly clear” to RCMP that Mounties could not interfere in their examination process.

He said CBSA was obligated to conduct its own screening of Meng after she landed because officers had suspicions relating to criminality and national security that could affect Meng’s admissibility to Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 29, 2020.

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