Leader of outlawed HK National Party refuses to answer panel’s questions after it refused to switch date of meeting so his lawyers could be present

15-Jan-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

The leader of the outlawed pro-independence Hong Kong National Party refused to take any questions during his appeal against its ban on Monday, in protest against the rejection of his lawyers’ request to postpone the hearing, the Post has learned.

Andy Chan Ho-tin appeared before a three-member panel of the Executive Council without barrister Gladys Li and lawyer Mark Daly, who had prior engagements.

The review hearing was arranged after Chan decided to appeal against the Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu’s decision to ban the party on September 24, on the grounds it posed a credible threat to national security and public order in the city.

The Executive Council set up a panel to hear the case, which comprised of barrister and lawmaker Martin Liao Cheung-kong, former stock exchange chair Chow Chung-kong, and former Monetary Authority chief Joseph Yam Chi-kwong. None of the three would respond to questions after the hearing.

In late December, Chan’s legal team applied to postpone the hearing because of a scheduling conflict and because they wanted more time to prepare, while Chan also applied for an open hearing.

Both requests were turned down by the panel.

On Monday morning, Chan was accompanied by two paralegals tasked with taking notes during the videotaped hearing.

According to sources, during the review only Lee’s lawyer, Victor Dawes SC, responded to questions about the legal basis for the ban, while Chan refused to reply.

Sources said Chan just repeated his complaint about being denied his legal rights, and referred the panel to the hundreds of pages of submissions he and another party co-founder, Jason Chow Ho-fai, had previously filed.

Speaking after the meeting, Chan said his refusal to answer questions during the hearing was a form of protest.

“As I’m not in the legal profession, I can’t fully represent myself in this case, and I feel my legal rights are being deprived,” he said.

Asked if he would lodge a judicial review against the government, Chan said: “This could be one of the options, and it’s possible.”

The hearing, originally scheduled to run from 9am to 6pm, lasted just 11/2 hours. The panel did not say when it would hand down its decision.

Chan was also barred from disclosing the deliberations of the meeting, as it was protected by Exco confidentiality rules.

The Exco Secretariat also refused to respond to Chan’s allegations regarding his legal rights, or make any comment about the hearing.

“In line with the principle of confidentiality of the Executive Council, we will not comment on the appeal,” a spokesman said.

It is expected that the panel will hand its decision to the full Exco meeting, although seven of 16 non-official members were excused from the decision as requested by the HKNP.



Category: Hong Kong

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