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Thursday, Apr 15, 2021

Judge sets time limit for marathon court hearing in view of "exhausted” defendants

Judge sets time limit for marathon court hearing in view of "exhausted” defendants

A West Kowloon magistrate said on Tuesday that the mammoth national security bail hearing for 47 pro-democracy figures charged with subversion would adjourn at 10pm at the latest, after some of the defendants complained they were exhausted by the prolonged proceedings, RTHK reports.
The lawyer representing Fergus Leung and Tam Tak-chi said his clients only got back to the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre at around 6am, after the previous day's hearing stretched into the early hours of Tuesday.

Just a couple of hours later, they were taken back to the court, and some of the defendants were seen nodding off.

By around 4.30pm, Chief Magistrate Victor So had only dealt with 26 of the 47 defendants, although his decision on each person's bail application was not due to come until the end of the hearing.

As well as complaints of not getting enough sleep, the lengthy proceedings also saw five of the defendants – Clarisse Yeung, Leung Kwok-hung, Roy Tam, Mike Lam and Chui Chi-kin – taken to hospital after apparently feeling unwell.

Lam returned to court on Tuesday afternoon, but the others remained absent.

The 47 defendants, who held Legco primary polls for the pro-democracy camp last year, are accused of plotting to overthrow the SAR government.

To be allowed bail under the Beijing-imposed security legislation, the magistrate will need to have sufficient grounds to believe that the suspects won't "continue" to endanger national security.
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