InmediaHK: Trial of 47 Hong Kong Democrats | 6 February 2023

InmediaHK reported that when the defendants entered the court at around 10 a.m., someone called out 「毛哥!」 (“Brother Hair!”) to “Long Hair” 梁國雄 Leung Gwok-hung. People were then warned about making noise. It was also reported that 吳政亨 Gordon Ng Ching-hang appeared with his arm in a sling, having been injured earlier in a sporting accident [早前因做運動意外受傷]. Someone in the gallery commented aloud that he looked quite handsome in his Western suit [幾靚仔]. It was also noted that 袁嘉蔚 Tiffany Yuen had her hair cut in the “basin cut” style [「冬菇頭」].

There was some legal discussion about the fact that two of the defendants had changed their pleas. Prosecuting lawyer 萬德豪 Jonathan Man Tak-ho first pointed out that 伍健偉 Lucifer Ng Kin-wai and 林景楠 Mike Lam King-nan would have to enter their pleas again. The judge 陳慶偉 Andrew Chan Hing-wai then wanted all the people who had pleaded not guilty to re-enter their pleas. Jonathan Man said that he thought this wasn’t necessary, but the judge couldn’t see why there was no necessity for some of the defendants not to plea. The charges were duly read out by the clerk of courts, and all the defendants who had pleaded not guilty entered their pleas again.

Ng pleaded in the following memorable manner:

「法官閣下,我顛覆極權國家政權未成功,我承認控罪 」
Your Honour, I was not successful in subverting state power. I plead guilty. I admit the charge.

InmediaHK also gave details about how other defendants restated their not-guilty plea. 鄒家成 Owen Chau spoke his plea in an emphatic, staccato way: 「不!認!罪!」 (Not! — Guilt-! — Ty!). “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung denied that there was a case to answer: :「無罪可認,爭取普選無罪,對抗暴政無罪。 (“There is no case to answer. Fighting for general elections is not a crime. Resisting despotism is not a crime.”). There was some laughter in the gallery upon hearing this.

Before she entered her plea, 何桂藍 Gwyneth Ho asked a question about the wording of the charge. This involved the deletion in a revised version of the opening submission of the words 「威脅使用武力」 (“to threaten to use force”). Ho asked the three judges:

「你 charge 都唔清楚叫人 plea,點 plea 啊大佬」 | 「唔好意思我有個問題,因為律政司好鍾意做 deadline fighter,我今朝先攞到最新嘅 opening」| 「我係認緊邊條?」|「咁你仲告唔告我哋威脅使用武力㗎而家?」| 「我都好尊重法庭」| 「我唔明點解問人答辯嗰日條 charge 都唔清唔楚,總之我 not guilty 嘅,唔駛嘥時間,多謝」
What am I to do, Boss [大佬]? You want us to enter our pleas when the charge isn’t clear. | Excuse me. I have a question. Because the Depart of Justice likes to be a deadline fighter, I only received the new opening [that is, opening submission] this morning. | Which [version] am I giving my plea to? | Are you charging us with the threat to use force now? | I respect the court | I don’t understand why when, on the day people are being asked to plea, the charge is not clear. But in any case, I am not guilty. There’s no need to waste time. Thank you.
(Note: Ho’s remarks are reported in different parts of the article, but I have done my best to reconstruct a plausible order.)

The judge asked Ho’s legal representative to explain the situation to her. Trevor Beel said that his client was confused because the criminal charge [控罪] referred to both force and other methods [同時提及武力及其他非法手段], while the charge [指控] in the prosecution’s opening submission had been amended to read “unlawful methods other than force” [武力以外的非法手段]. He said he would explain this to Ho. After her plea, judge Andrew Chan asked Ho not to speak so loudly. She replied by saying that she was using her「正常講嘢聲量」 (normal speaking volume). A second judge, 李運騰 Alex Lee Wan-tang, reminded her that she should communicate through her legal representative rather than directly address the judges. The InmediaHK report also suggested that Ho and a correctional officer jostled one another at this point [此時何桂藍與身旁懲教人員發生推撞].

One of the judges, 陳慶偉 Andrew Chan, was also disturbed by talk among the defendants while the prosecution was speaking, and warned them that they would have to sit “behind the doors of the prisoners’ room for the rest of the trial” [坐在囚室門後] if they continued to disturb court proceedings.

Then, there was some discussion of the use of computers by the defendants and arrangements for expert witnesses. This issue is clearly a fraught one, as Gwyneth Ho’s questions indicate, especially when emails notifying defendants of late changes arrive only at the last minute. InmediaHK reported this as follows:

The judges also responded to an application from the defence to allow defendants to make use of computers during the trial to read documents and to make notes. However, they were forbidden to use the devices to communicate with the outside world. The judges also noted that they were aware that, owing to safety concerns, Correctional Services would probably not allow defendants to take computers back to their prison cells. However, they would not interfere with any decisions made by Correctional Services, nor had they any power to do so. They called on the various defendants to consider what to do.

It is perhaps the point about defendants not being able to access computers from their cells that prompted one person to exclaim audibly from the defendants dock:

「so simple, sometimes naive」

This prompted another warning from judge Andrew Chan about interrupting court proceedings.

There was an adjournment at around 11.20 a.m. The judges said that Lucifer Ng and Mike Lam could leave the court (and go back into detention) but Ng wanted to stay on. As the court adjourned, 曾健成 Bull Tsang Kin-shing called out: 「大家頂住啊,阿毛!阿廷!」 (Hang in there everyone! Ah Mou [that is, Leung Kwok-hung]! Ah Ting [that is, Lam Cheuk-ting]!

You can refer to the original report in Chinese here.

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