• Sat
  • Sep 20, 2014
  • Updated: 10:41am


PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 May, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 May, 1999, 12:00am

I do not know Mr Justice Power personally and have no bias for or against him. However, I wish to point out what appear to be contradictions in his interview with Cliff Buddle (Sunday Morning Post, May 2). I stand to be corrected if I am wrong.

Mr Justice Power is reported to have said 'the legislators make the law; we apply it'. I fully agree with that statement. But did Mr Justice Power apply the law in the recent case of desecration of the national flag? Whether or not the law is right is not the case in point, but the question is whether the existing law was followed in dismissing the case. Maybe there is some legal explanation for the judgment of which I am ignorant.

Another query I would raise with Mr Justice Power is the jailing of illegal immigrant workers for 15 months, claimed to be the 'guideline' of the Court of Appeal, especially when sentences by magistrates to the contrary have been overruled, and minors without criminal records have been imprisoned for 15 months.

The 15-month sentence was not passed as a mandatory sentence by the Legislative Council, and I have opposed it ever since the guidelines came into operation. Answers to queries on this draconian sentence have always claimed that the sentence is a deterrent, which gives the impression that the Judiciary's guidelines on the subject sprang from administrative policy rather than justice. Mr Justice Power is reported to have said, in connection with the Court of Final Appeal's judgment on the Right of Abode, 'You can't be guided by floodgate arguments.' Yet surely the 15 months' imprisonment was entirely for that reason, to keep out floods of illegal immigrant workers. One gets the impression that the attitude of at least some of the Judiciary has changed since 1997.

I should be glad to be corrected on these points if I am wrong in my interpretation of these cases.

ELSIE TU Kowloon


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