Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Wednesday, Feb 01, 2023

Ex-Hong Kong lawmaker cleared of 2019 perverting the course of justice charge

Ex-Hong Kong lawmaker cleared of 2019 perverting the course of justice charge

Former Legco member Lam Cheuk-ting walks free from court after judge rules he tried to calm stand-off between demonstrators and police.

A former Hong Kong opposition lawmaker accused of pressuring a man to erase images of protesters involved in the 2019 anti-government unrest was on Friday cleared of perverting the course of justice after a judge ruled he was trying to make peace in the middle of a conflict zone.

District Court judge Douglas Yau Tak-hong told West Kowloon Court that he believed Lam Cheuk-ting was trying to get the man out of danger when he appealed to him to let protesters check his mobile phone after he was besieged outside Tuen Mun Police Station in the New Territories.

Yau highlighted video footage of the incident and said Lam’s calm manner during the hour-long conflict outside the police station was proof he wanted to resolve the tense situation.

“Lam that night was like a man putting out fires here and there,” he said. “He situated himself between the [prosecution] witness and those surrounding him, trying to resolve their differences, protecting the besieged and seeking police attention.”

“I truly cannot see how Lam had any intent to coerce the witness to remove his pictures so as to obstruct any potential prosecution in the future,” Yau said.


Lam Cheuk-ting, a former lawmaker who was on Friday found not guilty of perverting the course of justice.

Lam was charged after a police-approved rally on July 6, 2019 against loud song-and-dance performances in Tuen Mun Park descended into chaos after protesters suspected the man, identified only as X during the trial, had taken photographs of them at earlier demonstrations.

The July 6 rally was held after suggestions on social media that protesters should “blossom everywhere” to pressure the government to give into their demands, including withdrawal of a contentious extradition bill.

The proposed extradition legislation was scrapped in September that year.

Lam, of the Democratic Party, was among four people charged in connection with the disturbance.

The 45-year-old politician was accused of perverting the course of justice alongside Ronnie Tsang Chun-hei, 30, a decoration worker. It was alleged they tried to make X remove photos “showing the facial appearance of protesters who might have committed any possible criminal offence”.

Tsang was also charged with taking part in an unlawful assembly over alleged intimidating behaviour at the scene.

Social worker Aggie Chung Hoi-yin, 41, faced a charge of accessing a computer with dishonest intent and one of criminal damage by deletion from 12 video clips taken during a protest on July 1 that year from X’s mobile phone.

Lam’s former colleague Ted Hui Chi-fung, 40, who faced the same charges as Chung, jumped bail before the start of the trial.

Yau also highlighted a lack of evidence as to what potentially incriminating footage X had before.

He added the court could not draw an irresistible inference that the footage, assuming it had captured any criminal activities, would have been handed over to police for use in criminal proceedings.

Yau cleared Chung of both charges after he accepted she was, like Lam, a genuine peacemaker in a volatile situation.

Despite Friday’s acquittal, Lam remains behind bars awaiting two other trials, including one involving an alleged conspiracy to subvert state power over an unofficial legislative primary election in 2020.

The judge also awarded Lam and Chung costs for the proceedings and he questioned the prosecutors’ decision to bring them to court in the first place.

“Had prosecutors approached the video footage correctly, they would have realised the defendant’s crystal-clear intentions and could not have decided to prosecute them,” the judge said.

Tsang was cleared of perverting the course of justice but convicted of joining an unlawful assembly.

Yau ruled that he had threatened X with remarks that indicated his life would be in danger if he refused to surrender his mobile phone to protesters.

Tsang, who will be sentenced next month, faces up to five years in jail for the offence.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
Close
0:00
0:00
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
Chinese search giant Baidu to launch ChatGPT like AI chatbot.
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
China is opening up for foreign investors.
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
China relaxes 'red lines' on property sector borrowing in policy pivot
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Japan prosecutors indict man for ex-PM Shinzo Abe murder
Vietnam removes two deputy PMs amid anti-corruption campaign
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
China’s recovery could add 1% to Australia’s GDP: JPMorgan 
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
China vows to strengthen financial support for enterprises: official
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
2 Billion People To Travel In China's "Great Migration" Over Next 40 Days
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Flight constraints expected to weigh on China travel rebound
Billionaire Jack Ma relinquishes control of Ant Group
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
Teslas now over 40% cheaper in China than US
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
China seeks course correction in US ties but will fight ‘all forms of hegemony’, top diplomat Wang Yi says
China will boost spending in 2023
African traders welcome end of China’s Covid travel curbs
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
Preparations begin for Spring Festival travel rush
Domestic COVID-19 drug effective in trial
HK to see a full recovery, John Lee says in New Year message
Bargain hunters flock to last day of Hong Kong brands and products expo
Hong Kong aims for January 8 reopening of border with mainland China
×