Lawyer questions police methods

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 November, 2010, 12:00am

ATV reporter turned barrister Stanley Ma Ho-fai stands accused of stealing a bra based merely on a witness' momentary glance, his counsel argued in Eastern Court yesterday.

Ma was being tried for the theft of a Pang Chau resident's HK$360 bra from a drying rack on May 3. In a final submission, Ma's counsel, Martin Lee Chu-ming SC, faulted the police for not holding a proper identification parade. They failed to do so because they were not sure that witness Cheng Lai-chun could identify the defendant in a parade, he said.

Instead, the police took Cheng for a walk on the island, looking for the suspect, and she identified Ma outside a restaurant on the evening of the theft, Lee said. There was no evidence to suggest that there was anyone other than Ma on the street at the time he was identified.

'It's not like Causeway Bay or Lan Kwai Fong on a Friday night,' he said.

Cheng told the court earlier that she might not have been able to identify Ma if an identification parade had been held. But she denied knowing of any intentional arrangement made by the police.

On the day of the theft, the bra and Ma's wallet, containing his bank, credit, university access and Bar Association cards, were found in a bin on the island, the court heard.

The prosecution accused Ma of being a somewhat stupid thief who left his wallet behind after he stole the bra, Lee said. But the lack of an identification parade meant that one could not rule out the possibility that another person had stolen both Ma's wallet and the bra before dumping them in the bin, he said.

Magistrate Jason Wan Siu-ming is to deliver a verdict on November 29. Ma has since removed his name from the Bar List.