Lawyers in libel row over election

Top News | Sum Lok-kei 26 May 2017

Legislator Junius Ho Kwan-yiu yesterday defended launching a defamation action against the convener of the Progressive Lawyers Group, Kevin Yam Kin-fung.

That was because Yam "twisted the truth" in an article and did not issue a timely apology, the pro-Beijing Ho said.

The private lawsuit was filed on Wednesday over Yam's essay "Law Society Council election: Why lawmaker Junius Ho should be voted out" in Apple Daily and Hong Kong Free Press two weeks ago.

Yam listed "seven sins" against Ho, which included controversial comments the legislator made about a feminist writer and on homosexuals.

He urged members of the Law Society of Hong Kong not to vote for Ho in a council election that closes today.

Ho said yesterday he waited a fair amount of time for Yam to take remedial action after requesting an apology for claims he said were false.

Mentioned in the article was Ho's infamous selfie taken inside a court building.

"Any lawyer would know that save for special ceremonial occasions the taking of photographs in and outside courtrooms is strictly prohibited," Yam wrote.

But Ho argued his action was legal judging by the fact he was not prosecuted.

Asked if he would continue taking selfies inside court buildings, Ho said: "I cannot rule out the possibility."

He also claimed his lawsuit was not because of the election.

Yam said yesterday: "I am not going to engage in litigation in the public domain. I will do my litigating in court."

Senior counsel Ronny Tong Ka-wah said a plaintiff in a defamation case would have to prove someone made defamatory claims with malice.

"It has to go beyond a general attitude of dislike," the barrister added. A plaintiff would have to give evidence a defendant had improper motives, such as monetary gain.

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