Gremlins bring down court technology system

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 February, 2011, 12:00am

Technology may offer great help, but sometimes pen and paper proves more reliable.

The coroner's court looking into the Manila hostage tragedy resorted to pen and paper to mark down the hostages' seating arrangements on the tour bus after an electronic write-board system failed with technical problems.

The hearing was held in the High Court's technology court instead of Eastern Court because of better computer facilities.

Hostage survivor Lee Ying-chuen yesterday was asked to mark on a touch screen where the hostages were sitting in the bus when the bloodbath started.

However, the system reloaded and the unsaved data was lost.

Lee was asked to mark the seating arrangements again and a court officer clicked the save button on completion. When the court tried to retrieve the file, it found it had not been saved.

The court then adjourned for 20 minutes to allow officers to draw the seating plan on paper. Lee later used a pen to confirm any uncertainties.

A judiciary spokeswoman said the system had worked before and after yesterday's hearing and the cause of the failure was unknown. The sound system of the live video broadcast outside court also failed for several minutes. About 15 mainland students watched the broadcast outside the court. Tony Ma, a 21-year-old student from Tianjin, said he paid HK$6,000 for a two-week exchange programme, which included a visit to the High Court.

The students left after 10 minutes as they could not understand Cantonese.

Philippine vice-consul Val Simon Roque, who watched the video broadcast on the first two days of the hearing, did not appear yesterday.

An assistant was present to note the proceedings. She said she did not know why Roque did not attend.