Charges to be brought against barrister

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 October, 2004, 12:00am

Disciplinary proceedings will be taken against a barrister whose allegedly drunken behaviour forced a halt to a sentencing hearing in August, after the Bar Council recommended that charges be laid.

The council has completed its investigation into the conduct of Roderick Murray both inside and outside court on August 9.

It has recommended that charges be drawn up and the matter referred to the Bar Disciplinary Tribunal.

Bar Council chairman Edward Chan King-sang said there had been some discussion as to the exact wording of the charges and how many charges Mr Murray will face.

'The exact wording I can't tell you, but it's not really the number of charges, it's more a matter of their severity - if he's going to be suspended, you can't suspend him three times.'

Mr Murray, originally from Scotland, was acting as prosecutor in a cigarette smuggling case before Judge Chua Fi-lan when he is alleged to have disrupted proceedings by giggling, laughing, muttering to himself and donning sunglasses as the sentences of seven people were being handed down.

At one point Judge Chua was forced to suspend proceedings to allow Mr Murray to compose himself.

When questioned by a reporter about his behaviour outside court, Mr Murray allegedly started swearing and shouted: 'I am as drunk as a monkey. You f****** bitch, get out of here.'

Mr Murray's unusual behaviour is alleged to have continued in the court lobby, where he apparently told reporters he had been drinking during a long lunch at the Mandarin Hotel.

He was said to have told reporters he had been drinking because, 'You have to hear a lot of bull**** in court'.

He is also alleged to have made some disparaging remarks about Judge Chua before he began to strike poses, including an attempt to mimic sculptor Rodin's statue, The Thinker, for assembled media.

The Bar Council's investigation was prompted by two complaints, one from Judge Chua, who described Mr Murray's behaviour as bizarre.

The barrister will have a chance to enter a plea once the charges are decided.

No date has been set for the hearing.

Mr Murray, who lives in Discovery Bay, has remained in Hong Kong throughout the aftermath of the controversy.

It is unclear whether he has retained legal representation for the Bar Council disciplinary hearing.