Radio trial to go ahead despite loss of tapes

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 September, 2009, 12:00am

Citizens' Radio has failed in its bid to halt a lawsuit against its unlicensed broadcasts, after Eastern Court ruled that the loss of footage in four videotapes kept by telecoms watchdog Ofta would not prevent a fair trial.

Magistrate Douglas Yau Tak-hong said that though the two Ofta officers concerned had dealt with the tapes in unsatisfactory ways, he considered the pair honest witnesses, as there was no evidence showing they had destroyed the videos in bad faith.

Earlier, Lam Chi-shing, an assistant controller at Ofta, testified that he had erased three tapes with footage of a raid of Citizens' Radio in June 2006, and colleague Inspector Tang Sze-ching told the court he had instructed a subordinate to destroy another tape recording of an operation in October that year after finding it could not be played.

The six defendants applied for a permanent stay of proceedings, arguing that the absence of the videos as evidence was unfair to them.

Rejecting the application yesterday, the magistrate said the tapes should be regarded as neutral. 'The information contained in the videos may either help the prosecution or the defence,' he said.

But he said that Lam and Tang should have consulted Ofta's prosecution team before deciding to delete the footage and dispose of the tape, and Tang should have tried to repair the tape when he found it was flawed.

The trial continues on Monday.