Lam, Tang head list of 43 witnesses for Tsang trial

Top News | Phoenix Un 10 Jan 2017

Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and her predecessor Henry Tang Ying-yen will be witnesses in the trial of former boss Donald Tsang Yam-kuen over allegations of misconduct and corruption during his term as chief executive.

The list of 43 witnesses was announced yesterday in the Court of First Instance, where a nine-member jury - one man and eight women - was formed.

Other current and former high- ranking officials will testify, including former secretary for commerce and economic development Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan, Permanent Secretary for Financial Services and Treasury Elizabeth Tse Man-yee, and the former director of the Office of the Chief Executive, Gabriel Leung.

Independent Commission Against Corruption investigators are also on the list.

Barrie Ho Chow-lai, the designer whom Tsang recommended for a Medal of Honor - causing Tsang to be charged for misconduct in public office - is a witness as well.

One of the charges against Tsang, 72 - the city's most senior official to be prosecuted - is called "chief executive accepting an advantage." He is also charged with two counts of misconduct in public office. He pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

To form the jury, 14 people were initially picked from 39 candidates by lot- drawing. Five were spared after they cited various reasons to withdraw from the procedure, including one man who said he has to help feed his four-month- old baby every night after midnight.

Although Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai did not accept the excuse as the family employs a domestic worker, the man was still removed from candidacy after Tsang's counsel, Clare Montgomery, opposed his appointment.

Another man said he has to look after his wife, who is a cancer patient, while a third man said he has to go to Malaysia to give a speech. Another said he works with many officials. A woman who said she needs to go overseas for work was also exempted.

Chan reminded the jurors that they should handle the case with fairness, and consider only evidence presented during the trial, while keeping themselves from influence of all other information they may read or hear outside court.

He told them they had half a day to consider and to return to court at 10am today.

Chan expects the trial to last about 26 working days - until February 15 - but added that the hearing may be longer or shorter, subject to unavoidable factors like length of testimony and availability of witnesses.

The trial will be conducted in English. Chan assured the jury that case details and evidence will be relatively easy to understand, even for those whose English is not good.

The hearing will continue this morning.

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