Appeal for 'guilty' man
A man trying to get a criminal conviction overturned should get a hearing even though his barrister had acknowledged his guilt in an attempt to get a lighter sentence, the Privy Council has ruled.
The council said the Court of Appeal was wrong to deny Wu Chun-piu, sentenced in 1990 to a total of 14 years for robbery and possession of a firearm, his chance to challenge his conviction.
After the conviction Wu's barrister, in mitigation, said Wu had 'some sort of remorse' and had committed the offence because of gambling debts.
And when Wu attempted on his own to appeal against the sentence in 1990, he said he had been deceived into doing the robbery and 'it was a big mistake'.
Subsequently, Wu discovered that a co-defendant had been freed after a retrial ordered because the original judge had failed to properly direct the jury.
The Court of Appeal refused to hear the appeal as too much time had elapsed and Wu appeared to have admitted his offence.
The council said it would be 'unrealistic' for barristers making pleas of mitigation to keep insisting on clients' innocence only minutes after they had been found guilty by a jury. Wu's case will now be heard by the Court of Appeal.