Hearing adjourned again over barrister's submission

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 March, 2007, 12:00am

The joint inquest investigating four deaths, including that of off-duty constable Tsui Po-ko, was adjourned until today after an application was submitted to the Coroner's Court.

Coroner Michael Chan Pik-kiu postponed the hearing from 11.30am until today after Arthur Yip Chi-ho, the barrister representing Tsui's mother, Cheung Wai-mei, made the application.

The media is forbidden from reporting on the purpose and content of the application as it was heard in the absence of a jury.

The inquest has heard testimony from 18 witnesses and there have been two witness statements, all concerning constable Leung Shing-yan's death on March 14, 2001.

Leung was found dead in a fifth floor corridor in Shek To House, Shek Wai Kok Estate, Tsuen Wan, after he responded to a noise complaint in the building. His gun, speed loader and bullets were missing.

The coroner has heard that a surgical mask was discovered at the scene and that Leung's neck bore signs of strangulation. There were five bullet wounds to his head and body.

Police are expected to testify later in the hearing on the results of tests on DNA retrieved from the mask.

The inquest started last Monday but, because of two adjournments, evidence has been heard on only three days.

The inquest is looking into the deaths of Leung; security guard Zafar Iqbal Khan, shot dead during a robbery in December 2001; and Tsui and fellow policeman Tsang Kwok-hang, who died in a shoot-out in Tsim Sha Tsui on March 17 last year. It is expected to last at least 37 days.

The result of Mr Yip's application, as well as testimony from a scientific evidence officer on forensic evidence collected at the scene, from a forensic examiner on firearms and pathologist are expected to be heard when the inquest resumes.

Meanwhile, the demand for seats has tapered off as the inquest goes into its second week.

While the main court room, where the jury and coroner Mr Chan hear evidence, was still packed with reporters and members of the public, another court room installed with two speakers delivering the audio feed from the hearing was closed for the first time yesterday.