Why send a UK lawyer to represent Jimmy Lai in Hong Kong is obviously a legal problem | Media Pyro


The Hong Kong government is currently doing a good job of keeping Jimmy Lai, the founder of the now-defunct pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, in jail for one reason or another. Will undoubtedly continue to do this great work. This, however, requires some proper and legal back-and-forth.

Court of Final Appeal. Photo: GovHK.

Remember the list of British judges visiting the Court of Final Appeal? This provision is, in principle, an admirable endorsement of Hong Kong’s legal system.

No one was bothered by the fact that the CFA, from time to time, decided cases involving national security law, or that foreign judges did not speak the language. Cantonese. Nor do they impose laws that have never been seen before in their land borders.

They are rich; the withdrawal of those who left was lamented, and the announcement that others would not leave was hailed as a support for our constitutional order.

Timothy Owen KC. Photo: Matrix Chambers.

However the question of local knowledge and language skills were the things that troubled the Justice Department when Lai wanted to appoint a British King’s Counsel, Tim Owen. Note: A KC is a QC whose Queen has died and has been succeeded by her son.

If you wish to employ an imported lawyer you must obtain permission from a High Court judge. These applications are opposed by the local Bar Association on the grounds that qualified personnel are available.

I suspect that the local people were very happy that the resistance did not work; Many of our friends up north do not know that lawyers are expected and entitled to represent people they disagree with or disagree with.

Jimmy Lai (middle).

A defense, especially a successful defense, of Lai will not sit well with a large group of advocates who call for a reversal of judgments whenever the court makes a decision it disagrees with.

The DoJ also denied Lai’s request, which continued to challenge this denial by appealing the original judge’s decision. This is more difficult to explain. Didn’t the department want to bring in David Perry QC – the then living Queen – to prosecute Lai in another case, last year?

I don’t remember the topic coming up at the time but I wish Perry didn’t speak Cantonese. His decision to withdraw from the case was due to a storm in British political circles, or due to some timely research into Hong Kong’s then-existing quarantine rules.

David Perry.

His withdrawal was widely condemned by the former as a secretive, unconstitutional violation of the constitution, and an expression of the lack of understanding of Hong Kong’s many activities in British government circles.

The DoJ’s approach seems to be that using Perry to prosecute Lai in one case may be beneficial, but Lai may not use Owen to defend himself in another case. Years of training allow lawyers to float unpredictably in the face of unusual situations. To the layman it looks bad.

Likewise, we will no doubt soon be told that having a foreign judge at the same time on the CFA is an effective protection of human rights, constitutional rights and so on, but having foreign lawyer to defend a local accused of contempt of the legal system and insult to the law.

Leung Chun-ying. File Photo: GovHK.

Of course, Leung Chun-ying, a reliable source of great information, is up to the task. The three appeals judges upheld Owen’s visit “inviting British citizens to ‘develop’ national security legislation in Hong Kong China.”

It was Leung who called the departure of two British judges from the ranks of the Court of Appeal as “a stain on the independence of the British judiciary” that had created Britain as a “joke.” The CFA has decided national security cases.

No complaints about the welcome to Perry. Now he is complaining that the judges who decided to accept Owen had “dishonored” the local legal profession. Why all four judges had to agree to do so he did not say. However, Leung, a serial violator of building codes, may have no legal authority.

Of course, there are many people in Hong Kong who believe that the rule of law is just a slogan, and it is released when necessary, and thrown out whenever a judge makes a decision that they do not like. each. With defenders like that, who needs enemies?

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