The decision, which was ruled on the basis of “double-criminality,” means that the Chinese tech executive must stay in Canada and continue fighting against the U.S. extradition order.
While the court’s decision looks like a serious loss on both her — and by extension, China’s — side, experts say Wednesday’s decision remains amid the first few chapters of what could potentially be a long, drawn-out fight.
Paul Evans, a professor at the University of British Columbia specializing in global affairs, said that this was definitely not the end of the “extradition issue.”
“It’s like a Canadian hockey game with three periods and we’ve just finished the first one, and there will be an appeal technically even before we get to the second period,” said Evans.
“This is going to be a long-term legal process that is going to make things more complicated.”
Evans’ comparison of the case’s length relative to the time in a hockey game isn’t too far off.
Canada’s Department of Justice defines Wednesday’s ruling, which Meng is allowed to appeal, as phase two out of three in the entire extradition process.
According to one legal expert, that last phase could extend the case by as much as two years, should the proceedings go the full length.
According to Gary Botting, a B.C.-based lawyer and one of Canada’s leading experts on extradition law, the next step Meng would pursue would likely be a case hearing conference in early June, the first part of an appeal.
Following that, June 15 remains the next scheduled court date for the case. The Huawei executive would get another chance to fight for her release based on whether her rights were violated during her arrest.
Botting said that a win then could result in a stay, but argued that the opportunity for staying was probably “gone with this decision today.”
“It’ll probably … go to the fall for the actual summary and the basic hearing and the decision as to whether she is committed or not committed,” he said.
The court’s decision then could send the case in two directions: If Meng is found to not have committed a crime warranting her extradition to the U.S., she could be discharged.
If she’s found to have committed, that ruling and Wednesday’s ruling would most likely be brought to the court of appeals, potentially extending the case by another 30 days. The case now heads to the ministry of justice, which could take as long as 60 days to respond.
Finally, the minister of justice could then either choose to to surrender Meng to the U.S., adding another six months of proceedings if she chooses to appeal.
“If everything goes against Madame Meng, then you can expect to be before the Supreme Court account again in two years or so,” said Botting.
The length of Meng’s extradition case has since posed an issue due to the imprisonment of two Canadians in China, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
Both have since been held in Chinese prisons with no access to their family or lawyers in what is widely believed to be retaliation against Meng’s arrest by RCMP in December 2018.
A statement from the Chinese embassy in Canada also denounced the ruling, saying that China “expresses strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition” to the decision.
“The United States and Canada, by abusing their bilateral extradition treaty and arbitrarily taking forceful measures against Ms. Meng Wanzhou, gravely violated the lawful rights and interests of the said Chinese citizen,” reads the statement.
“The purpose of the United States is to bring down Huawei and other Chinese high-tech companies, and Canada has been acting in the process as an accomplice of the United States.
“The whole case is entirely a grave political incident.”
— With files from Abigail Bimman