Department of Justice blacklists barrister over "Glory to Hong Kong” ringtone
An experienced barrister had been banned from handling prosecution works of social unrest cases after his phone's ringtone of “Glory to Hong Kong”, a song created by protesters rang in the courtroom, according to sources.
The song “Glory to Hong Kong” was composed and written by a netizen by the alias of "Thomas dgx yhl" with contribution from netizens on online forum LIHKG. It was the most well-known protest song during the unrest.
Sing Tao Daily, the Standard's sister publication, said a barrister was handling the prosecution of an unrest case as hired by the Department of Justice when the song rang from his phone during a hearing in the courtroom. He forgot to switch the phone to silent mode.
The audience was shocked to hear the song in court, and the barrister immediately apologized to the judge; sources added.
It is understood that the Department of Justice, having received news of the incident, suspended the barrister from handling the prosecution of further unrest cases so that the public won't think the prosecution is handled by biased barristers.
The department has been hiring barristers named in two lists to initiate prosecution. The two lists, namely list A and list B, would provide the names of veteran barristers and new barristers with less experience, respectively.
Since the social unrest, cases related to public order events surged, and the hearings for most cases are staged at the magistrates' court. While the prosecution work of these cases is supposed to be handled by barristers named in list A, their income was found to be lower when compared with barristers named in list B.
According to barristers, a list A barrister will be paid HK$15,890 for the first day of the hearing if hired by the department and paid HK$7,930 for each following day. Yet, barristers named in list B get paid HK$12,160 for each day of the hearing.
That means for a three-day hearing, the list A barrister will only get paid HK$31,750, while the list B barrister would be paid HK$36,480.
It is understood that the comparatively lower income has stopped the experienced list A barristers from stepping up and taking jobs from the department.