Top court denies last-ditch appeal bid by ex-HK policeman Frankly Chu, who was jailed for hitting bystander during Occupy protests

22-Jan-2019 Intellasia | AFP | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A retired senior police officer who was jailed for striking a bystander with a baton during Hong Kong’s 2014 Occupy protests has lost his last-ditch bid to appeal despite his complaints of enduring grave injustice in the case.

Counsel for Frankly Chu, 59, on Friday argued in his application for leave to appeal to the top court that the judge had applied the wrong legal test and failed to conduct a rehearing of evidence before throwing out his first appeal last September.

But Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li found the points raised were “not reasonably arguable” and dismissed Chu’s application to quash his conviction and the three-month sentence he had served.

Defence counsel Peter Pannu said his client, who did not attend the hearing in Central, respected the court ruling but felt disappointed.

“He set out to enforce the law, his conscience is clear,” Pannu told reporters outside the Court of Final Appeal.

The former superintendent was convicted in December 2017 of assault occasioning actual bodily harm for striking Osman Cheng Chung-hang, 28, with a baton during a clearance operation in Mong Kok on November 26, 2014.

The offence carries a maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment.

The case was the second time a court had found officers guilty of using excessive force while policing the 79-day Occupy protests, which shut down major roads as protesters called for greater democracy in the city. In February 2017, seven police officers were jailed for two years on the same charge for punching and kicking an activist who poured liquid over their colleagues.

On Monday, Chu’s counsel Charlotte Draycott SC argued that the trial magistrate and the lower appeal court judge had both applied the wrong legal test, which resulted in “a grave omission”.

“There’s no finding by either court that this man intended to act outside the law,” she said. “You have to find no ordinary policeman would act as he did.”

But Ma, who presided over the case with justices Roberto Ribeiro and Joseph Fok, countered that both the magistrate and the judge had looked at the case from Chu’s point of view.

The justices also disagreed with Draycott’s complaint that the judge had failed to conduct a rehearing of evidence in his first appeal and neglected the context of the assault.

“You can’t say [the magistrate] wasn’t aware [of the context], you can’t say the judge wasn’t aware,” Ma replied. “You just didn’t like the result that came out of it.”

Prosecutor Daniel Marash SC added that the judge was “plainly making an independent assessment of evidence” when he repeatedly watched the video that captured the assault.


Category: Hong Kong

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