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Saturday, Feb 24, 2024

DoJ ruled to pay Jimmy Lai's legal costs of HK$855,000

DoJ ruled to pay Jimmy Lai's legal costs of HK$855,000

The Court of Appeal on Wednesday judged that the Department of Justice(DoJ) should pay HK$855,000 on media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying's legal costs of his national security law case.
Lai, the founder of the now-defunct Apple Daily, is currently in custody after being alleged to breach national security law and colluding with foreign forces.

The 74-year-old pro-democracy publisher will face a 40-day trial on September 25 next year.

Before that, Lai applied to seek defence from Timothy Owen, a London-based legal veteran specialising in criminal and human rights law. The High Court approved the application.

DoJ objected to the decision and appealed twice in November, both rejected by the Court of Appeal. DoJ then appealed to the Court of Final Appeal but was also dismissed.

The Court of Appeal today ordered DoJ to pay the relevant legal costs.

The fees include HK$511,700 for two barristers hired by Lai to defend him, as the Court of Appeal agreed with DoJ that two lawyers were sufficient in Lai's case.

Besides, DoJ should pay HK$343,300 in legal costs incurred due to its application to appeal to the Court of Final Appeal being refused.

Lai's trial was once scheduled for December 1 this year with a 30 days trial after the approval of the Court of Final Appeal agreed for him to seek a foreign barrister's defence.

However, the trial was deferred to next September as Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu stepped in, claiming the case needed to be interpreted by Beijing to determine whether a case concerning National Security Law could allow foreign lawyers to participate.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong's outgoing representative to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, said it is still pending an official decision from Beijing on whether Lai can hire a foreign lawyer to defend him.

He revealed there are "no matters related to Hong Kong" on the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the NPC Standing Committee next Tuesday.

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