A Canadian judge questions the refusal of a former policeman to testify in the Huawei case

CFO Meng Wanzhou is facing charges of US fraud and conspiracy over the activities of a Huawei subsidiary in Iran. (AP photo)

Vancouver: The Canadian judge in the extradition case, Ming Wanzhou, questioned the government attorney on Thursday about why a senior police officer refused to testify, stating that it defies “normal logic and experience.”

Assistant Chief Justice Heather Holmes interrupted Canada’s lawyer after he was unable to tell her why Sgt Ben Zhang, a retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police, had not been questioned.

Ming, Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer, alleges that Chang sent her phone information and passcodes to the FBI, after it was incorrectly handed over to the RCMP by Canadian border guards.

This allegation is one of the pillars of allegations that Canada violated her rights during her three-hour interrogation without a lawyer at Vancouver Airport in 2018.

“He was a great police officer,” Holmes said. Generally speaking, retired police officers testify in relation to the cases they were involved in before their retirement, which is not the case here.

“So I’m not sure whether the principle that one operates with normal reason and experience can have a much useful application here, or it can help the prosecutor’s position.”

Meng is facing charges of US fraud and conspiracy over the activities of a Huawei subsidiary in Iran, for allegedly violating US sanctions. Meng and the Chinese telecom giant deny any wrongdoing.

Meng’s lawyers argued this week that Zhang was the “most important witness,” and said his refusal to testify was “unprecedented,” especially since the police destroyed all of his files when he retired.

“Senior Sergeant Zhang did not share the information,” said Canadian lawyer John Jeb Carsley.

“It’s another example of (Meng’s attorney) trying to fill in a void of evidence with speculative assertions … The behavior of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was to take steps to achieve correct policing goals.”

Zhang retired after Meng was arrested for taking a security job at a casino in Macau, a region controlled by China. In his affidavit, he denied sending the FBI information, contrary to remarks by another senior RCP officer. Which Canada rejected, describing it as “rumors.”

“There is a certain shock value to the fact that a senior police officer might refuse to testify on an affidavit he made in court,” Scott Fenton, a lawyer for Meng, said earlier this week.

He claimed that federal witnesses lied to the court and secretly gathered evidence from Ming for the FBI’s criminal investigation, then tried to “hide their misconduct.”

Canada submitted a court document last year that included “witness safety” as the reason for Zhang’s refusal.

The case is expected to end in mid-May, unless more appeals are filed.

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