Ex-lawyer did steal bra, judge rules

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 July, 2011, 12:00am


Ex-barrister Stanley Ma Ho-fai yesterday lost his appeal against a conviction for stealing a lacy, red-and-white bra from a laundry rack.

Ma, 44, who was a lawyer at the time of the theft, said he would appeal to a higher court.

In her written judgment, Court of First Instance Judge Judianna Barnes Wai-ling rejected arguments by Martin Lee Chu-ming, senior counsel for Ma, who challenged the credibility of witness Cheng Lai-chun. She testified she had spotted a man taking the bra from a neighbour's drying rack on Peng Chau on May 3 last year. Cheng later identified Ma as the thief.

Lee argued the witness had only had a 'fleeting glance' of the man she said was Ma and this was not enough to positively identify him.

Barnes disagreed.

'The witness was able to give the description of the man in detail,' the judgment read.

The judge said it was very rare in Hong Kong for a man to carry an environmentally friendly bag.

'The witness did not simply testify that the man was carrying an environmental bag; she could even specify the bag was white in colour,' her judgment read.

A wallet containing Ma's bank, credit, university access and Bar Association cards was found in a bin with the bra on the day of the theft, the court was told.

Barnes said the evidence given by the witness and the circumstantial evidence indicated Ma was the thief.

Ma was convicted in November last year of stealing the bra, worth HK$350. He was fined HK$3,000.