Cops drawcourt barbs as 'riot' student freed

Local | Amy Nip 3 Jun 2020

A 19-year-old student has been cleared of rioting in Wong Tai Sin - the first acquittal on a rioting charge in last year's unrest.

Lam Tsz-ho, also a part-time salesman, pleaded not guilty to rioting in Wong Tai Sin on October 1 - a day when protests spread across the city.

District court judge Sham Shiu-man said the prosecution relied on the testimony of two policemen, whose reliability he questioned.

Both officers testified that they saw Lam rush out of a barricade built out of umbrellas to throw bricks, and stressed they had kept their eyes on Lam until he was arrested.

If the court accepted their testimony as reliable, then it would be enough to convict Lam, Sham said.

However, he said at least one officer failed to tell the true story in court.

A medical report showed Lam bled from the head. Both officers said they and their colleagues did not hit him on the head, but failed to come up with any reasonable explanation for the injury.

Sham said the two should be well aware that one could face prosecution for using violence on those under arrest. As they did not speak the truth, the reliability of their testimony was questionable.

Lam was arrested outside CCC Kei Heep Secondary School, which has a security camera at its entrance.

Not only did the officers fail to fetch the camera footage, but they stated in their report there was no security camera there.

The judge also questioned the officers' reliability as a fire truck appeared at the scene, but one officer said he did not see it. Another said he had no recollection of it.

Although the officers said Lam left a strong impression as he had long hair and wore no helmet, Sham said it would be difficult for officers to keep their eyes on a single person during the chaos.

The defense argued that police arrested anyone dressed in black, and there was no proof that Lam threw a brick.

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