Judge points to limits in rejection of review

Local | Jane Cheung 12 Sep 2019

A High Court judge has rejected a judicial review application from citizen Kwok Cheuk-kin that sought a court order to press Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to establish an independent commission of inquiry as the court cannot make rulings on political decisions.

Justice Anderson Chow Ka-ming also explained yesterday that there could be nothing to argue in a judicial review if a decision on an inquiry was solely a political one.

So he rejected the application since Kwok and fellow applicant Yip Hing-cheung had no chance of winning.

"The court has reaffirmed multiple times that a judicial review is not a tool to solve political issues," he said in criticizing Kwok, dubbed the "king of judicial reviews" for the number of times he has been involved in one.

Chow said according to the Commissions of Inquiry Ordinance and Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance only the chief executive has the power to form an independent commission of inquiry.

Even then, the judge noted, that decision could only be reached after consultations with Executive Council members, and the court was in no position to order the chief executive to do so.

Chow also said that Kwok and Yip did not specify the function of the independent commission of inquiry they wanted.

"A commission can only achieve its purpose by having a precise and concise scope of investigation," he remarked.

On another legal issue, Pun Ho-chiu, known as "the Occupy Mong Kok Painter," remained in jail custody after prosecutors said he could be slapped with more charges on top of nine existing ones relating to protest action.

In a hearing at Eastern Magistrates' Court yesterday, Colin Wong Sze-cheung adjourned a hearing until September 25 and refused Pun's request to be released on bail.

Despite the 31-year-old willing to abide by a curfew and live at the address he had provided, magistrate Wong said Pun faces serious charges that he committed while on bail in another case. And Pun has a record of jumping bail, he added.

The prosecution told the court that evidence for the nine charges pointed to Pun's involvement in more offenses.

The nine charges relate to actions outside police headquarters in Wan Chai on June 21 and take in one count of criminal damage, one of unlawful assembly and seven of assaulting police officers.

Pun allegedly besieged the headquarters with other protesters that day and was seen tossing eggs at officers and at the walls and escalators outside the building.

jane.cheung@singtaonewscorp.com

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