Crunch time for Avery Ng in appeal to top court

Local | Angel Kwan 13 Dec 2019

Angel Kwan

Activist Avery Ng Man-yuen's application to take his case to the Court of Final Appeal has been rejected by the High Court.

High Court Judge Judianna Barnes Wai-ling refused to grant him leave to appeal to the CFA but said he can appeal directly to the CFA. Barnes extended Ng's bail for one month, warning that he will need to file his appeal as soon as possible or risk being sent back to jail to serve the remaining four months of his sentence. He has served one month.

Ng said he will appeal directly to the highest court against his conviction and sentence for revealing the identity of a senior government official under investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Barnes said the case had no important and prominent legal decisions that were arguable.

Ng's lawyer Douglas Kwok King-hin said both the trial judge and the judge of the appeal court said Ng was trying to boost his own popularity by appealing, and not for public interest. But Kwok said it should also be a reasonable excuse for a public figure to boost their popularity through reporting government officials for corruption.

But Barnes said the defense did not make this point during earlier stages of the case.

She said Ng was "shameless" for procrastinating using many reasons, including claiming that he does not have a lawyer and need time to apply for legal aid.

Ng was found to have revealed in 2016 on social media and to reporters that the ICAC was investigating Betty Fung Ching Suk-yee, the then permanent secretary for Home Affairs.

He was found guilty of three counts of disclosing the identity of individuals being investigated by ICAC without lawful authority or reasonable excuse and sentenced to four months in prison.

He appealed against his conviction and sentence in June but this was rejected by Barnes.

Ng was jailed immediately, but was later released on bail pending appeal in July.

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