A leading pro-democracy activist Tonyee Chow Hang-tung was on Wednesday cleared of her conviction of inciting others to participate in an unauthorized June 4 vigil last year and saw her 15 months jail term squashed.
Chow, the vice chair of disbanded Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, was handed down the jail term in January after District Court judge Chan Wai-mun found her guilty.
Back then, Chan backed her ruling by saying there were altogether 10 seditious sentences in a post on Chow's social media platform and an article written by Chow and published in Ming Pao on June 4 last year.
Chow then filed an appeal against both the conviction and the jail term and the hearing began in October this year before High Court judge Judianna Barnes.
In the latest judgment released on Wednesday, Barnes said she believed the content of the two article was to encourage citizens to gather at the Victoria Park, citing a line in the Ming Pao article where Chow questioned readers if they were to “actively retreat the battlefield of Victoria Park.”
Barnes added Chow did have such intent to do so.
Yet, Barnes noted that as the legitimacy of an restraining order by police targeting the vigil has yet to be confirmed, it remained legal for Chow to call on citizens to take part in the assembly.
Barnes in her judgment referred to the testimony of a superintendent that the alliance said in a police meeting that they were willing to comply with social distancing rules and other anti-Covid
She continued that police didn't actively and seriously consider relevant measures or conditions mentioned in the meeting with the alliance, ruling that police didn't exercise their duty to grant the vigil approval and to convenience the staging of the vigil under reasonable circumstances.
Chow is now serving a 12-month jail term handed down in December last year for inciting others to take part in the June 4 vigil in 2020.