Case goes to Court of More Final Appeal

Weeks after Hong Kong holds a conference and sends emissaries overseas to maintain that the city still has rule of law, Beijing will overturn the Court of ‘Final’ Appeal’s rejection of the government’s attempt to bar British lawyer Timothy Owen from defending Jimmy Lai. Officially, CE John Lee is ‘requesting’ the NPC Standing Committee to ‘interpret’ the NatSec Law. In practice, Beijing will redefine the wording and amend or expand the meaning of the law.

HKFP quotes Lee as saying…

“Hong Kong residents have the right to choose their own lawyers. According to previous cases, the right of defendants to choose their legal representation refers to choosing from lawyers who are fully qualified in Hong Kong, not overseas lawyers who do not have those qualifications.”

The Standard reports

Lee’s announcement was backed by the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office…

A spokesman said on Wechat: “The decision made by the relevant court in Hong Kong in approving a British King’s Counsel handling Lai Chee-ying’s case has contradicted the rule in the NSL where the administrative, legislative and judicial authorities have to prevent, stop and punish actions and activities that endanger national security.

“The decision has also been against the purpose of legislation and logic in legal contexts.” The spokesman said the decision has raised strong discontentment among people who “love the country and Hong Kong” and “those with righteousness in the legal sector.”

“They all said some judges simply used the principles and proceedings in normal cases to regulate the application and enforcement of the national security law. The judges have insufficient knowledge on the constitutional status of the national security law, and have neglected its authoritative and overriding nature,” he said.

It quotes Lee as saying…

“There’s no effective means to ensure that a counsel from overseas will not have a conflict of interest, and there’s also no means to ensure that he has not been coerced, compromised or in any way controlled by foreign governments, associations or persons.”

Has any of this ever been an issue with any overseas lawyer? Can it be?

From the SCMP story

…legal scholar Thomas Kellogg, who studies the Hong Kong situation at Georgetown University in Washington, said Lai’s case underlined a wider issue.

“This move to block Tim Owen’s participation is part of a broader pattern of blocking due process rights in national security trials, which includes blocking the right to a jury trial and holding individuals – including Jimmy Lai himself – for extended periods in pre-trial detention, without access to bail,” he said.

Those desperate to see a bright side can at least say that the CFA displayed its independence in rejecting the government’s application. But what practical purpose is there to a purely symbolic or nominal ‘independence’ that can be overridden on a whim?

Lai’s case will presumably be postponed – which leaves more time for the authorities to pursue him for his other alleged crimes.

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17 Responses to Case goes to Court of More Final Appeal

  1. donkey says:

    ““Hong Kong residents have the right to choose their own lawyers. According to previous cases, the right of defendants to choose their legal representation refers to choosing from lawyers who are fully qualified in Hong Kong, not overseas lawyers who do not have those qualifications.””
    Came here to ask about this, specifically, after I read it elsewhere in the Chinese press.

    I thought Owens is fully qualified to practice law and represent cases here. So, is Lee, or anyone else in authority for that matter, just off the top of their head deciding that they do not have the right to practice, and there you go? Off with you?

    Shocking evidence of how “civil code” enforcement is just a way of creating opportunities to use power as one sees fit to get what you want out of something, regardless of its status in law.

  2. donkey says:

    The egregiousness of all of these points of view! I mean, are they saying that the ONLY way that one can be convinced that noone has been coerced is if a higher authority ensures that they are not, meaning that they are actually being coerced by virtue of the fact that the government steps into the procedures to ensure they get their way?

    Either the CCP is just filled with dumb lackeys, or they just do not care how much like imbeciles they appear to the common man.

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    “Hong Kong residents have the right to choose their own lawyers. According to previous cases, the right of defendants to choose their legal representation refers to choosing from lawyers who are fully qualified in Hong Kong, not overseas lawyers who do not have those qualifications.”

    So just like medical doctors, lawyers from abroad simply don’t have the chops to keep up with the world class, high speed and uber amazing Hong Kongers. Man, what are HK lawyers doing wasting their time in HK when they could be raking in 50x $$$ overseas???

  4. Mjrelje says:

    Surely that should be Court of Dynamic Final Appeal?

  5. Low Profile says:

    Since the government was always determined to exclude foreign lawyers from national security cases, Lee could have asked for an “interpretation” back when all this started, and saved the Hong Kong taxpayers the cost of several expensive hearings. It would be interesting to see the response if Lai now demands to be represented in court by one of the local lawyers who’s also on remand for alleged NS violations, but still “innocent until proven guilty”.

  6. Stanley Lieber says:

    “People who argue about the legality of things are wasting their breath.”

  7. Stanley Lieber says:

    In the midst of the anti-extradition protests in October 2019, I published a list of 16 community leaders with whom the Administration could meet if it wished to negotiate an end to the protests. Of course, Mrs. Lam sent in the police instead.

    Here’s where the 16 community leaders are now:

    In prison: 2
    In jail awaiting trial: 3
    On bail awaiting trial: 4
    In exile: 4
    Convicted with suspended sentence due to terminal illness: 1

    Two have been allowed to escape the net:

    Charles Mok, resigned from Legco IT functional constituency in 2020
    Anson Chan, retired from public life

    Talking about rule of law in Hong Kong is pointless. The sooner discussion moves on from that quaint notion, the better.

  8. Court Short says:

    Looks like they’re going for Option 3 — Maximum highlighting of how rule of law and the HK legal system is fundamentally broken under the new police state.

    What could possibly go wrong!?!

    @Mjrelje
    Perhaps just “The Sort of Final Appeal”?

  9. Escaped engineer says:

    A frequent defence of foreign judges continuing to sit in Hong Kong is that they can still exercise judicial independence and defend the rule of law in individual cases assigned to them. This incident surely demolishes that idea utterly.

  10. HKJC Irregular says:

    @Stanley Lieber
    “Talking about rule of law in Hong Kong is pointless. The sooner discussion moves on from that quaint notion, the better.”

    Then where does the discussion go?

  11. Stanley Lieber says:

    @HKJC Irregular

    For one example, during the anti-ELAB protests, the CCP were alarmed by the prospect of a successful Yellow Economy movement. Discussion about the theory and practice of this type of peaceful non-cooperation might prove more fruitful in the long run than talking about how many angels can dance on the head of a semi-colon in the Basic Law when the Central authorities and their local minions are positively enthusiastic about steamrolling over any so-called legal impediment to their absolute rule when given an opportunity to do so.

  12. HK-Cynic says:

    That DoJ is really funny.

    Was it just over a year ago that the DoJ attempted to hire David Perry to prosecute Jimmy Lai and eight others? This same David Perry that the HK Government has paid tens of millions of dollars in numerous cases to make sure that they won? Why is some outside counsel permittable and others not? Because they want to make sure the verdict comes out the way they want it? But of course…..

    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3117441/hong-kong-justice-department-hires-queens-counsel

  13. wmjp says:

    The CCP…just do not care how much like imbeciles they appear to the common man

    Because the CCP cannot envisage any situation where the common man could possibly think that the Party is wrong. Shades of Animal Farm, 1984 et al

  14. wmjp says:

    Jimmy Lai should now attmept to hire David Perry

  15. Load Toad says:

    HKG Govt and by definition the CCP makes HKG and by definition, the PRC look ever more ridiculous and contradictory. Whether the govt has to fly around Asia on ‘charm offensives’ (by Johnnie Lee??) to explain how we are open for business whilst we most clearly are not to Fart Face trying to explain how we have ‘Rule of Law’ whilst perfectly illustrating we evidently do not make the place look like a failed, insignificant little city. Once the bankers realise you cant’t get rich off the rotting corpse they will fly off too.

    Quite brilliant – “high degree of autonomy” hasn’t lasted 25 years – never mind 50 – or as was suggested, could last 50 years past that.

  16. Chinese Netizen says:

    HKJC Irregular: Discussion? There IS NO so called “discussion” once the CCP resolutely makes its case.

  17. Mary Melville says:

    Of course the judge in the case could refuse the request to delay the hearing as it had already dragged on for far too long!!!!!
    OK and pigs will fly.

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