Case of ex-space agency engineer facing breach of trust charge put off until April

A Chinese flag is illuminated by sunshine in the Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday, September 22, 2016. Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

A former Canadian Space Agency engineer’s breach of trust case was put off until mid-April during a brief hearing today at a courthouse south of Montreal.

Wanping Zheng, 61, a resident of the Montreal suburb of Brossard, Que., faces a single count of breach of trust, accused of using his position to act on behalf of a Chinese aerospace company.

Read more: CSIS repeatedly warned space agency about engineer facing breach of trust charge

Zheng was not present at the hearing as a judge was told the federal Crown in the case had divulged more evidence on Tuesday, and lawyers on both sides requested the case be put off.

In recently released court documents used to secure search warrants, police allege that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had raised concerns about Zheng as early as 2015.

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Read more: Ex-Canada Space Agency engineer charged for allegedly working with Chinese firm

Despite several warnings, an internal probe by the space agency only began in December 2018, and Zheng resigned in September 2019 after 26 years at the agency.

Less than a week later, space agency officials contacted the RCMP.

When Zheng was charged in December, the RCMP said in a statement the case involved the installation of satellite station facilities in Iceland, with the accused allegedly acting on behalf of a Chinese firm.

The case will return before a judge on April 14.

Click to play video: 'Why CSIS believes Canada is ‘permissive target’ for China’s interference'
Why CSIS believes Canada is ‘permissive target’ for China’s interference

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