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Friday, Mar 31, 2023

Two fail to end sedition test

Two fail to end sedition test

Two former top editors of the now-defunct Stand News website have lost an attempt to end their trial for sedition.
District court judge Kwok Wai-kin - approved by the SAR to oversee the case - ruled yesterday that a fair trial was still possible for the two even though prosecutors failed to submit more than 500 articles gathered during the investigation as evidence.

Former editor-in-chief Chung Pui-kuen, 53, and former acting editor-in-chief Patrick Lam, 35, are charged with conspiracy to publish seditious material related to news articles and commentaries between July 2020 and last December.

Senior counsel Audrey Eu Yuet-mee and David Ma Wai-kwan, representing the two, had sought to terminate the hearing because of the prosecution's late disclosure.

As the trial resumed yesterday, prosecutors called in a national security police officer to testify on 19 screenshots of the personal Facebook profile of Yeung Tin-shui, former chief editor of Stand News' UK arm.

Prosecutor Jennifer Tsui Sin-chi said the screenshots showing what Yeung liked and posted on Facebook may show the operations of the now-defunct Stand News UK office.

The defense argued that the prosecution had delayed submitting these screenshots until this December 8, after the trial had already started, with Eu pointing out the "inappropriateness" of the late submission.

But the screenshots were deemed admissible and relevant to proceedings.

The defense had previously argued that the national security department of the police had improperly handled evidence pertaining to 587 articles identified as seditious by the prosecution.

The department only sought the prosecution's advice on 30 of the articles - 17 of which were submitted as evidence - before archiving the other 557. That was, the defense said, grounds for proceedings to be terminated, as a fair trial would not be possible.

But prosecutors claimed many of the undisclosed articles contained seditious material that would benefit the prosecution's case and that the disposal of the articles was in fact "disadvantageous to the prosecution."

Kwok said yesterday, after the articles were admitted as evidence, that the defense had failed to prove that the non-disclosure or late disclosure of evidence would lead to an unfair trial, or "abuse court procedures in future hearings."

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