Courts delayed by visit
A ROUTINE visit by the Chief Justice to North Kowloon Court yesterday delayed cases involving more than 100 defendants, lawyers, witnesses and police officers.
Every magistrate at the court was summoned to meet Sir Ti Liang Yang, and cases in all 12 courts were held up. A quarter of the court's day had been lost by the time magistrates reappeared after 11 am.
Defendants who were kept waiting feared they would have to pay legal fees for an extra day if their cases overran.
It is general practice for the Chief Justice to visit magistracies once a year to keep in touch with the lower courts.
The meeting was considered internal administrative business.
One defence lawyer said no advance notice was given and he had trouble making his client understand the reason for the delay.
''I wonder why the Chief Justice does not choose to visit at any time more convenient,'' the lawyer said.
Another counsel said about four cases were scheduled in the same court but he had to wait until shortly after 11 am to start.
The Chief Justice also visited Kwun Tong, Eastern and Western courts yesterday but delays were minor because meetings were scheduled at lunchtime and at the end of the court day.
The Judiciary would not comment on the delay.