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Media asks court to approve broadcast, webcast of Meng's extradition hearing

Last Updated Nov 27, 2019 at 9:01 pm PDT

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is out on bail and remains under partial house arrest after she was detained last year at the behest of American authorities, leaves her home to attend the third day of a court hearing in Vancouver, on Wednesday September 25, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER — A media consortium is asking the British Columbia Supreme Court to allow video and web broadcasting of the extradition hearing of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, arguing there’s significant public interest in the case.

Daniel Coles, a lawyer who represents 13 domestic and international media outlets including The Canadian Press, told Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes that broadcasting proceedings would “engage with the very meaning of open and accessible justice in the modern era.”

Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer, is free on bail and living in one of her homes in Vancouver while awaiting her trial.

She was detained by border officials at Vancouver’s airport last December, then arrested by RCMP at the behest of the United States, which is seeking her extradition on fraud charges.

Meng is fighting the order, and her lawyers have argued her arrest and detention were unlawful.

Coles says comments by Canadian, American and Chinese politicians and diplomats show the case has been politicized, and notes the court’s public gallery is often full.

“Depending on what happens in this case, there are political ramifications,” Coles says.

A series of hearings in the case is set to begin in January and Coles is requesting authorization for the first one, or portions of it, with the ability to apply again for access to more hearings next April, June and in the fall.

Should the media’s application be granted, the consortium says the CBC would be responsible for recording the proceedings and providing the content to members through a pooling agreement.

Court rules give discretion to a judge to authorize video recording or broadcasting but do not provide a legal framework for making that decision.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2019.

The Canadian Press