Hong Kong to end news reporting ban on security cases

Share with:


Robert Besser
21 Aug 2022, 09:20 GMT+10

Hong Kong to end news reporting ban on security cases

Robert Besser
21 Aug 2022, 09:20 GMT+10

  • A Hong Kong court lifted restrictions on reporting pre-trial proceedings of a landmark national security case involving 47 pro-democracy campaigners.
  • This is the first time reporting will be allowed for pre-trial hearings for a national security case in Hong Kong.
  • The defendants have been accused of a conspiracy to commit subversion, after participating in an unofficial, non-binding primary election in 2020.

HONG KONG: A Hong Kong court this week lifted restrictions on reporting pre-trial proceedings of a landmark national security case involving 47 pro-democracy campaigners.

This is the first time reporting will be allowed for pre-trial hearings for a national security case in Hong Kong.

Magistrate Peter Law, who had rejected previous applications to lift the reporting ban, did so after being ordered to by a High Court judge.

“Open justice.It is a fundamental principle of criminal justice … the public has the right to scrutinize whatever the court is doing,” one of the defendants, Gwyneth Ho, told the court during a July hearing.

The defendants have been accused of a conspiracy to commit subversion, after participating in an unofficial, non-binding primary election in 2020.

So far, 29 of the 47 have pleaded guilty, including legal scholar Benny Tai and activist Joshua Wong. Eighteen are pleading not guilty, including Gwyneth Ho, Owen Chow and Gordon Ng.

Despite the decision, some aspects of the proceedings, including bail hearings, will remain secret. Law also refused to clarify whether a preliminary inquiry initiated by Ng, to ascertain the strength of the prosecution’s case evidence before trial, would be reported.

While the full trial date has not been set, Hong Kong Justice Secretary Paul Lam has already ordered the case to be tried without a jury and will, instead, be heard by three judges designated by Hong Kong’s leader to handle national security cases.

“A hearing without a jury is unjust,” activist Owen Chow shouted at the end of the hearing this week.

Share with:


Category: News View 85