Acquitted activists could face retrial
The Department of Justice pledged yesterday to appeal against last week's acquittal of two League of Social Democrats activists involved in a noisy protest last spring in which Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said he was struck on the chest.
'The prosecutions division has decided to appeal against the acquittal of Wong Chun-kit and Wong Ho-ming in respect of the charge of behaving in a disorderly manner in a public place, by way of case stated to the Court of First Instance,' a department spokesman said.
Steve Wong Chun-kit, 25, a chef, and Raphael Wong Ho-ming, 22, a student, were charged after a noisy protest on March 1, when Tsang was on his way to the Museum of History in Tsim Sha Tsui to open an exhibition marking the centenary of the 1911 revolution.
They were acquitted last Friday when Magistrate Johnny Chan Jong-herng ruled there was no evidence showing that the defendants intended or that others at the scene were provoked to resort to violence - an element of breach of peace.
'The case stated concerns the magistrate's ruling that by their conduct of pushing and shoving the security officers, museum staff and police officers, the defendants did not intend to provoke a breach of the peace and that a breach of the peace was unlikely to be caused,' the department spokesman said.
'We are appealing on the basis that the ruling is erroneous in point of law in that the magistrate wrongly applied the definition of a breach of the peace in the context of the offence and had failed to apply it correctly to the facts of the case,' he said. The department had said on Friday it would consider he magistrate's decision to determine whether to institute an appeal to the Court of First Instance.
On March 1, Raphael Wong was seen running towards Tsang with a lunchbox of food. He was accused of throwing the food at the chief executive, while Steve Wong was accused of trying to run into Tsang, who said he was struck in the chest.
Tsang had a check-up at hospital that night but no assault charges were brought.
The magistrate said last Friday that no witnesses had seen direct physical contact with the chief executive and a video played in court did not show him being hit. As for a museum employee who had earlier told the court his thumb was injured when Steve Wong tried to run into Tsang, Chan said the injury resulted from the employee trying to stop Wong rather than from an assault.