Judge turfs media request to broadcast Meng Wanzhou extradition hearing

VANCOUVER — A senior judge with the British Columbia Supreme Court has denied a media request to broadcast the extradition hearing of a Huawei executive wanted in the United States on fraud charges.

A consortium of 13 Canadian and international media outlets, including The Canadian Press, applied to use two discrete cameras to record portions of Meng Wanzhou's extradition hearing next week.

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The media's lawyer Daniel Coles argued that there is significant public interest in the case and that broadcasting proceedings would engage with the very meaning of open and accessible justice in the modern era.

The case has fractured Canada-China relations and Meng, who denies the allegations, is living in one of her Vancouver homes after being freed on bail.

Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes says in her ruling that she agrees with lawyers for Meng and Canada's attorney general that it could compromise the woman's right to a fair trial in the United States, should she be extradited.

In a written decision released Monday, Holmes says broadcasting portions of the trial would put that right "at serious risk by potentially tainting trial witness testimony and the juror pool."

"Broadcasts would almost inevitably reach the community of the trial, given the high profile of this case in Canada and abroad, the political commentary relating to the case, and the sensationalized nature of some of the media coverage," she says in the ruling.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2020.

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