Pay rise, rank boost after transfer

Top News | Wallis Wang 8 Sep 2020

An Eastern Court magistrate at the center of a controversy for a series of acquittals in unrest cases will earn close to at least HK$50,000 more a month when he moves to a High Court desk job starting next week.

Stanley Ho Chun-yiu will be transferred to the High Court as a criminal listing judge, The Standard and its sister publication Sing Tao Daily reported yesterday.

He will be responsible for scheduling the dates for hearings and equal in rank with a deputy registrar of the High Court. He is now in grade 10 of judge rankings as a magistrate, while his new position will be grade 13.

Ho, 41, will take up the post from September 18 to June 13 next year.

According to the report published by the Joint Secretariat for the Advisory Bodies on Civil Service and Judicial Salaries and Conditions of Service in 2019, the monthly pay of a High Court deputy registrar starts from HK$212,300. The salary for a magistrate ranges from HK$136,215 to HK$163,250 per month.

It means Ho would see his pay rise by HK$49,050 to HK$76,085 a month. As he will be transferred for eight-and-a-half months, he could earn HK$417,000 to HK$646,000 more in wages throughout the period.

According to the judiciary, a criminal listing judge is responsible for scheduling criminal cases at the Court of First Instance. The listing judge must schedule the case for trial within 21 days after receiving the defense's request for a listing.

Ho will only handle administrative work and will no longer hear cases in the courtroom.

Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam Man-ho said he believes Ho was transferred under pressure from pro-establishment lawmakers and media.

He accused the camp of having interfered in the independence of the judiciary.

But lawmaker Holden Chow Ho-ding, of pro-Beijing party Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said Tam's allegations were untrue.

Chow said Ho's transfer was the judiciary's independent decision.

Ho's transfer came after he was accused of being biased for ruling in favor of people charged in at least eight unrest cases, with police supporters writing letters to the judiciary urging that he be barred from such cases.

Ho was appointed a magistrate in November 2014. Born in Hong Kong in 1981, he obtained a bachelor of laws degree from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom in 2003 and a postgraduate certificate in laws from City University in 2004.

He was called to the bar in Hong Kong in 2005 and had been in private practice.

DAB lawmaker Elizabeth Quat Pui-fan wrote a letter to Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li, accusing Ho of bias and making unfair rulings in eight cases when he either acquitted defendants or handed down lenient sentences.

Last month, Ho acquitted Eastern District councillor Jocelyn Chau Hui-yan and her assistant, Lao Chak-kin, of assaulting police in North Point on August 11 last year.

The magistrate said the two police officers gave testimony that contradicted video evidence and used "a lie to cover up another lie."

Ho also criticized them for living in a "parallel universe."

wallis.wang@singtaonewscorp.com

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