High Court only has to review the magistrate’s bail decision but not the reason, says Cheng Huan
A prominent barrister in Hong Kong said today that when the High Court rehears the bail application of the 15 activists that were granted bail yesterday, the High Court would only have to review the magistrate’s decision but not any reasons which he might give.
A Hong Kong court on Thursday ordered all 47 pro-democracy activists charged under a Beijing-imposed national security law to be kept in custody after the Department of Justice appealed an initial decision to grant 15 of them bail.
Thirty-one of the activists were denied bail outright, with the co-founder of the 2014 Occupy Central protest movement, Benny Tai, withdrawing his bail application after he was ordered held in custody in a separate case.
The next hearing in the case will be on May 31.
The 15 activists initially granted bail are to appear in court within 48 hours for a review of the decision.
Barrister Cheng Huan SC said the High Court is rehearing the application for bail, not an appeal against any reason which might be given by the magistrate.
“Therefore, even if the magistrate did not make any error, the High Court judge can still allow or refuse bail,” he added.
He also pointed out the high court judge does not need to know why the magistrate grants or refuses bail because the High Court hears the application afresh.
“The High Court judge does not need to give reasons too since there is no further appeal,” said Cheng.