• Wed
  • Aug 20, 2014
  • Updated: 2:24pm

Gay sex blackmail accused to be tried

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 June, 2011, 12:00am

A woman accused of being a co-conspirator in the blackmail of a member of a religious group over gay sex lost her bid to halt her trial permanently yesterday.

Judge Douglas Yau Tak-hong said the woman's grounds for a permanent stay of proceedings were insufficient and that justice required the court to put her on trial.

Li Dora Kay, 59, was accused of scheming with a Chinese University doctoral student in economics to extort more than HK$6.3 million from the head of a religious group and a senior staff member of that group, identified only as 'X', between April and May 2009. She will stand trial on Monday.

Li has pleaded not guilty in the District Court to two counts of conspiracy to blackmail. With student Cheung Ka-wo, she allegedly threatened the victim with videos secretly filmed by Cheung which showed him having gay sex with X.

Cheung, 28, was jailed in September for four years for his crime, which the judge called despicable and 'an attempted murder of the soul'. But the court also found that he was not a mastermind of the plot.

The head of the religious group and his secretary will testify behind a screen in court on Monday. The prosecution successfully sought a gagging order, which bars the media from revealing the identities of some key witnesses and X, because their occupation was 'sensitive'.

The man who was captured performing indecent acts on Cheung will not give evidence in court for health reasons. The court heard that he needed psychiatric treatment.

Delivering his ruling, the judge said he refused to exercise his discretionary power to stay Li's trial because there no evidence of an abuse of court procedure that was so serious that the hearing had to be halted to uphold justice. Although the judge agreed that it was unsatisfactory to try Li separately from Cheung, he said it did not lead to an unfair trial.

The judge also said Li's accusation that the police investigation was unfair to her was 'totally groundless'.

On Thursday, lawyer Shahmim Khattak, for Li, also suggested that witnesses due to give evidence in court might have been influenced by what he called 'extensive, sensational and inaccurate' media coverage of Cheung's trial and would exaggerate their evidence against Li.

He offered precedents of trials stopped because of adverse publicity that seriously influenced the jury, but not witnesses. But the judge said any possible influence could be remedied by cross-examination by the lawyers. He also stressed that witnesses, under the threat of an oath, had a 'knife over their head' to tell the truth.

Yesterday, Li sought the court's permission to leave the dock during the trial and sit with her lawyers.

She said she needed to take notes during the trial but there was no desk in the dock and it was also stuffy. The judge rejected her request, saying a desk and fan would be arranged for her.

$811,000

The amount, in Hong Kong dollars, that the victim eventually handed over, the court was told during Cheung's trial

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