Ex-police officer jailed for lying over illicit tapes

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 March, 2011, 12:00am

A former policewoman who secretly taped the conversations of undercover officers before they testified at her husband's trial has been jailed for six months for giving false evidence.

A lawyer acting for Ng Wai-bing described her prosecution for perjury as a 'violent reaction' from the government, which blamed her for causing it lose the 2007 case against her husband, Cheung Sai-kit.

Judge Kim Longley yesterday held that Ng, 55, lied to the court when she said she had notified a litigation clerk in her husband's legal team about the existence of the recordings in December 2007. She had, in fact, told him the previous May.

In the District Court, Longley said the lie stopped prosecutors finding out if Cheung or his lawyers played a role in making the recordings.

He referred the case to the Law Society and the Bar Association to investigate any involvement by Cheung's lawyers and clerks.

Longley acquitted Ng on a charge of perverting the course of justice, saying the prosecution had not proved its contention that she tampered with the recordings.

Ng, a police officer for 27 years until she retired in 2002, has already been convicted of contempt of court for making the recordings and sentenced to nine months' jail, suspended for 18 months.

In April 2007, Cheung and eight others were defendants in a lengthy District Court trial in which they were accused of managing a vice establishment. Ng arranged to have voice recorders placed inside a witness room used by the undercover officers.

After the recordings were submitted to the court in December 2007, the judge questioned the credibility of the witnesses and ruled that Cheung and his co-defendants had no case to answer.

Yesterday Longley said he had taken into account the unusual circumstance of Ng's offence. 'The most favourable version is that it was simply to protect this clerk and the rest of your husband's legal team from being implicated,' he said.

Ng's lawyer, Toby Jenkyn-Jones, said police officers involved in Cheung's case had disregarded the warning that they should not discuss the case with others while they were testifying. They were clearly in contempt of court, he said.

Two officers involved in Cheung's case had been charged with misconduct in public office, but eight had been promoted, he said, while Ng was 'vigorously prosecuted'.

The prosecution would not be able to rely on her as a witness against the two officers, he said.