Row over Bokhary's extra jail visits

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 December, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 31 December, 2010, 12:00am

Extra visits to prisoners are commonly allowed in the interest of their rehabilitation and relationships with their families, the government said yesterday amid media reports over extra visits paid to judge's niece Amina Mariam Bokhary.

Chinese-language newspapers reported that the parents of Bokhary, 34, were allowed to make extra visits on top of what was specified by law.

Under regulations, a prisoner is allowed visits twice a month. Each visit should last no more than 30 minutes. Up to three visitors are allowed each time.

The Correctional Services Department said yesterday it was common to grant extra visits to prisoners, as 'visits help to enhance their family relations'. At Tai Lam Centre for Women, where Bokhary is jailed, there were 62 applications for extra visits from July 1 to December 29. The department said 90 per cent, or 56 cases, were approved.

'Heads of correctional institutions may also allow any convicted prisoner to meet his or her relatives or friends for making arrangements over his or her property,' a spokesman said.

Bokhary, the niece of Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary, avoided jail three times after being convicted of assaulting police officers.

She was jailed last week for six weeks for breaching five of the seven conditions of a probation order handed down at an earlier hearing.

Tai Lam Centre for Women is where all women are sent immediately after sentencing.

In December 2008, Bokhary was ordered to perform 240 hours of community service and fined HK$1,000 for assaulting a policewoman and a taxi driver. In 2002, she was fined HK$9,000 for assaulting a policeman and damaging a spotlight outside a bar in Central after an argument with her boyfriend.

In August, the Department of Justice applied for a review of her sentences at the Court of Appeal.