The jury of Edward Leung’s and 4 others’ controversial “riot” case in High Court finally reached a verdict today shortly before 7 pm, after more than twenty-two hours’ deliberation. But around 5 pm today, the judge revealed that the Judiciary had received a photo with features of four of the jurors! And in February, the same jurors of the same case were openly photographed by a Mainland Chinese in court. On both occasions, the culprit got off Scott free. On the first occasion, the judge of the same, Anthea Pang, claimed that it was an inadvertent mistake on the part of the culprit, and just forbid the public, except journalists, from using mobile phone in the courtroom. On the second occasion, i.e., today, apart from calling the police, the same judge simply denied the public, save reporters, entry to the courtroom. There is in fact a third occasion; 3 days ago, a journalist from Local Press caught a Mainland China man taking pictures of the TV screen, which was live broadcasting the same trial outside the same courtroom. The man was, however, released by the bailiffs without even reporting to the court.
On the first day of the Lunar New Year of 2016, a police-civilian confrontation took place in Mongkok. And well-known pro-independence activist Edward Leung, and four others, i.e., Lee Nok-man, Lo Kin-man, Lam Ngo-hin, and Lam Lun-hing, then faced a host of charges, including rioting, inciting others to riot, and assault of police. The case had been tried for months. Today, the jury, after retreating from the courtroom and discussing for more than 20 hours, finally reached their verdict shortly before 7 pm.
Earlier on, near 5 pm, before the verdict was reached, Judge Anthea Pang said that someone had sent a complaint email to the Judiciary with a photo containing the features of four jurors of the case concerned, and also with the sentence, “and a lot more”. Judge Pang said that the leakage of the information might exert pressure on the jurors. And she banned the public from auditing the trial in the courtroom, and arranged police officers to escort the jurors and provided them with some urgency phone number.
Before today, for the same case, there had already been two occasions on which some Mainland Chinese either took photos of the jurors inside the courtroom or took photos in the lobby outside the courtroom. First occasion, on the afternoon of 23 February, Judge Pang told the jurors that that morning, a man had held up his camera in the courtroom to take photo of them, and sent out the photos by Wechat. Subsequently, the man told the court staff that he was a tourist from China. Judge Pang claimed that the China man just made an inadvertent mistake, and asked the jurors not to worry. Henceforth, Judge Pang forbid the public, except journalists, to use mobile phones in the courtroom.
Second occasion, around noon on 15 May, a journalist from Local Press discovered a Mainland Chinese taking photos of the TV screen in the lobby outside the same courtroom. The journalist reported to two bailiffs nearby, but they let the suspect go, and would not report to the court. https://www.localpresshk.com/2018/05/jurors-photo/