Justice chief slams 'savage criticism'

Local | Wallis Wang 18 Jan 2021

The judiciary system has become a target of "savage criticism" motivated by political overtones, justice secretary Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah said, while calling on the public not to comment on ongoing court cases.

She also said there has been a surge in unreasonable calls for the government to drop charges against activists or release them immediately recently.

"A number of politicians used to irrationally ask for the withdrawal of charges against some defendants or their immediate release. They have even made spiteful comments on personnel who carry out prosecution work," Cheng wrote on her blog yesterday.

She appealed for the public to read the judgments before expressing their views. "For cases in which the legal proceedings are still underway, it is inappropriate for any of us, not just the [Department of Justice], to comment, as it is a matter of sub judice," she added.

Cheng also said Hong Kong's judicial system "is highly regarded and internationally recognized," and that Hong Kong cases are cited in overseas jurisprudence from time to time.

However, the judicial system has now become a target of "savage criticism" motivated by political overtones, she said.

Cheng stressed that although people have the right to express their views on court decisions, personal attacks on judges are "never tolerated."

She said the DoJ spared no effort in defending the judicial system and that she has also applied for an injunction on the doxxing of judges and other staff.

Any person who violates the injunction order may be held in contempt of court, Cheng warned.

On January 10, the governments of the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom issued a joint statement in which they expressed "serious concern" over the arrest of 55 opposition politicians and activists on suspicion of subversion under the national security law.

"The national security law is a clear breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and undermines the 'one country, two systems' framework," the statement wrote.

These foreign countries claimed that the national security law has "curtailed the rights and freedom" of Hongkongers and the law is being used to eliminate dissent and opposing views.

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