'Irrational' Attacks on judge slammed

Local | Wallis Wang 24 Nov 2020

Staff reporter

The Hong Kong Bar Association has condemned "irrational" attacks against a judge who made a ruling against police last week.

High Court judge Anderson Chow Ka-ming ruled on Thursday that a failure by officers to show identification numbers during the unrest last year ran against the Bill of Rights. He also ruled that the existing mechanism to handle complaints against police failed to fulfill requirements under the bill.

The bar said in a statement yesterday that there have been personal attacks against the judge, questioning his motives and integrity, and that "the association deplores irrational and unrestrained attacks on the judiciary." It noted that the judiciary is a core institution under the Basic Law and its operations should not be interfered with by anyone.

"It serves, protects and upholds the rule of law in Hong Kong for everyone's benefit, even those who do not like its judgments."

It also said cases are handled according to established legal principles.

"Members of the public have the right to discuss and criticize judicial decisions through rational discourse and debate," it went on. "There is, however, no justification whatsoever for exerting pressure on judges in an attempt to persuade them to decide cases one way or another."

The bar's vice-chairwoman, Anita Yip Hau-ki, also wrote to Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah about an article in pro-Beijing newspaper Ta Kung Pao attacking justice Chow.

The bar noted a front page headline in the newspaper on Friday read: "Thugs rule, no human rights for policemen."

There was also a cartoon showing a protester waving a weapon and telling a police officer "Show me your number, the judge backs me."

Yip said the article conveyed a message that Chow was "partisan and biased in favor of protesters or supports criminal activities."

It was considered "that Ta Kung Pao has gone beyond the boundary of acceptable criticism of judicial decisions," Yip wrote, and "the bar council calls upon you to staunchly defend the judiciary and individual judges against the pernicious accusations."

The bar council said the article "hovers on the margins of a contempt of court" so she called for Cheng to "take appropriate action."

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