Sick director avoids jail for contempt

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 October, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 October, 1999, 12:00am

A company director narrowly avoided jail for contempt of court yesterday when a judge took pity on him because of his poor health.

Chi Shi-jer, a director of Datacom Wire & Cable Co Ltd, was fined $50,000 and ordered to pay the costs of committal proceedings for having exported some of his debt-ridden company's frozen assets.

In a judgment handed down yesterday, Mr Justice James Findlay said Chi disobeyed court orders on August 6, the day they were issued at the Court of First Instance.

The businessman was instrumental in sending cable switches to Shenzhen just hours after the judge warned him that to do so would be risking punishment for contempt.

'If it were not for the fact that Mr Chi is, apparently, a sick man, I would find myself in the unfortunate position of considering committal to prison,' the judge said.

Chi failed to appear in court last month to answer committal proceedings.

Anthony Watson-Brown, for Sun Ming Wah Holdings, which is seeking $1.4 million from Datacom, said Mr Chi had deliberately put his life at risk to avoid facing Mr Justice Findlay.

Mr Watson-Brown said documents showed Mr Chi's illness was caused by his failure to take medicine he had taken over the past five or six years for a heart condition.