Lawyers 'impeded New World probe'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 August, 2007, 12:00am

Lawyers for Lee Chi-ming, a businessman allegedly involved in a series of attacks on New World Development properties last month, tried to hinder a police investigation by launching spurious judicial review proceedings, it was alleged yesterday.

Acting deputy director of public prosecutions Kevin Zervos SC, speaking on the first day of a judicial review into Mr Lee's arrest and detention, told Mr Justice Michael Hartmann that lawyers for the businessman had not been fully frank with the court when applying for leave to apply for the review.

Mr Zervos accused the lawyers, solicitor Gerard Chung and barrister Hectar Pun Hei, of stage-managing and manufacturing the application in order 'to impede the police investigation' into the attacks.

Nineteen premises owned by New World Development were damaged in the wave of attacks on July 4 and 5, including ram-raids on three buildings. Mr Justice Hartmann on Friday granted leave for the review, which was to have looked into the legality of the decision to arrest and detain Mr Lee during a police interview last Thursday.

Mr Zervos presented documents that he said verified there was sufficient information before police to justify the arrest. He said the documents were subject to public interest immunity and could not be released to Mr Lee's legal team.

Mr Justice Hartmann said after examining them that they seemed to bear out Mr Zervos' assertions regarding the nature of their content and sensitivity.

Mr Zervos said that if Mr Lee's team, led by Martin Lee Chu-ming SC, wished to continue with the application, he would seek to cross-examine Mr Chung and potentially Mr Pun regarding their role in what he said was an abuse of court process.

After a break of more than an hour, during which the two sides discussed their next step, Martin Lee Chu-ming SC indicated that Lee Chi-ming would be withdrawing the review application.

Furthermore, he would surrender himself into police custody later in the afternoon.