Bus trial judge says yes to new witness

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 January, 2005, 12:00am

The court hearing the Tuen Mun bus tragedy trial yesterday decided to allow the prosecution to bring in an Australian forensic engineer as an expert witness, prompting the defence to call for a mistrial.

Making the mistrial application, defence counsel Andrew Macrae SC said he would otherwise have to request the court adjourn the case until June, as he needed time to prepare the case to take into account the new witness and evidence.

Truck driver Li Chau-wing, 53, has denied a charge of dangerous driving causing death after his vehicle and a Kowloon Motor Bus double-decker collided in July 2003, killing 21 people.

A total of 22 witnesses have testified since November.

Agreeing to the prosecution's request for the new witness, Deputy District Court Judge Ian Thomas ruled the trial would be adjourned instead of aborted, citing public interest in seeing that justice was done both to Hong Kong and the defendant.

The court will decide the length of adjournment on Saturday.

Mr Macrae said he was only notified by the prosecution on December 14 about its intention to call forensic engineer William Keramidas to give evidence.

He said he only saw Mr Keramidas' 66-page report on the crash for the first time last Sunday.

He said there were major areas of dispute between Mr Keramidas' findings and a report by senior government chemist Kwok Fu-chiu, who was the prosecution's expert witness and had already given evidence.