CBSA officer: Handing over paper with Meng's device codes a 'heart-wrenching' mistake

Meng codes a 'mistake'

The Canada Border Services Agency officer who said he erroneously handed over a piece of paper with Meng Wanzhou's electronic device codes to the RCMP called the move a "heart-wrenching" mistake in court Friday.

Scott Kirkland, under cross-examination of Meng defence lawyer Mona Duckett, said it was not the plan to hand the information over to police, adding that the error was made when items collected from the Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. executive were transferred to RCMP jurisdiction after the CBSA completed its admissibility exam on Meng.

"I'm telling you that it's heart-wrenching that I made that mistake," Kirkland said, adding that he would have definitely corrected the situation had he known he unwittingly handed the paper over.

Court heard that the error was not discovered until January 2019 - more than a month after Meng's arrest at YVR on a U.S. extradition request for fraud and money laundering.

Kirkland also said Meng did not want to give her code initially when asked by CBSA inspectors, but officers did not force her to turn the passwords over. Rather, the Huawei executive decided to do so after the CBSA explained the potential need to examine her devices for a border-entry admissibility examination.

The CBSA officer also challenged Duckett's assertion that the agency seized the devices, noting that - in legal terms - the agency was collecting the phones for examination only.

"Did we seize the devices? Not on legal terms," Kirkland said. "We are taking it under the pretense that we may examine them. We didn't examine them, but we would not have collected the passwords if there wasn't a pretense to examine."

Duckett wrapped up the morning session by again criticizing the lack of notes taken by Kirkland for the inspection, noting that CBSA officers had the duty to provide reliable records that may be used in court to assist in specific cases - as is the case with the Meng extradition arrest.

The hearing continues later today.

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