Court denies Tony Chan's plea to halt legal battle

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 May, 2012, 12:00am

A magistrate yesterday refused to hear self-styled fung shui master Tony Chan Chun-chuen's application to halt criminal proceedings against him, saying that decision should be left to the court where Chan will be tried.

Chan, 52, is charged with forgery and use of a fake will to bolster his claim that late businesswoman Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum left him her entire fortune, estimated at HK$50 billion.

Magistrate David Dufton earlier heard arguments from Chan's lawyers and prosecutors as to whether his court had the power to halt proceedings and exclude evidence in the case against Chan.

'I decline to hear the stay application,' Dufton ruled yesterday in Eastern Court. The courthouse where Chan will face trial is a better forum for dealing with his stay application, according to the magistrate.

Chan has argued that he would be deprived of a fair trial because forensic tests on the allegedly forged will had destroyed all DNA traces and fingerprints on it.

Chan's lawyer, Alan Hoo SC, last week asked the magistrate not to consider as evidence the allegedly forged will, its draft and an envelope seized from Chan. '[It's] no longer the same document,' Hoo said.

But prosecutor David Perry, a British QC, had argued that the question of whether proceedings were fair should not be handled by a trial judge in the High Court.

Chan's request to have the magistrate rule on his application to halt criminal proceedings against him was part of a preliminary hearing in his case.

Having decided to leave the issue to the judge who will preside over Chan's trial, the magistrate will continue with the preliminary hearing today.

Wang, the former chairwoman of Chinachem group, died of cancer in April 2007, at age 69. Her death sparked a lengthy fight over her estate.

The Court of Final Appeal ruled in April last year that a 2006 document - which Chan said was Wang's will - was a forgery. Chan, whose bail has been extended, earlier said he notified Wang's family of the will after her death.

The hearing continues today.