(Donald Tsang trial) Lawyers argue against court costs

Local | 10 Nov 2017 3:05 pm

Lawyers Selwyn Yu Sing-cheung, SC, and Derek Chan, have written a nine-page counter argument after prosecution demanded court costs arising from the former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's 25-day February trial, Headline Daily reported today, citing sources.

On Monday, the High Court shelved the bribery charge against Tsang after a majority verdict could not be reached by the eight-member jury last Friday.

But the prosecution demanded court costs, reportedly HK$3 million, because of what it said was Tsang's uncooperative manner during Independent Commission Against Corruption's investigation.

In an exclusive story today, sources of The Standard's sister paper said there are three main grounds against the prosecution's demands.

The prosecution accused Tsang of not assisting the anti-graft watchdog's investigation but defense said they cannot apply for court costs unless the suspect obstructed the investigation while he was being investigated.

In a 2012 radio interview, the former Hong Kong leader said he was willing to fully cooperate with the investigation, but after seeking legal advise, he was told to remain silence. The prosecution said Tsang had a responsibility to assist ICAC's investigation, but the defense argued that the suspect had the right to remain silent and investigation is the anti-graft watchdog's responsibility.

The defense said even if Tsang's wife Selina Tsang Pou Siu-mei agreed to provide a written witness statement and refused to sign it afterwards, according to the spouse privilege, she had the right to refuse to testify against her husband, adding that her actions did not impact the investigation.

The counter arguments have been submitted to both the prosecution and the court, the report said.

Tsang was convicted in February of misconduct for failing to disclose conflicts of interest in renting a luxury penthouse in Shenzhen from Wave Media shareholder Bill Wong Cho-bau and receiving HK$350,000 free renovation from him as the Executive Council was considering the broadcaster's license application.

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