New legal bid by trio in deleted files case

Defendants facing fraud allegations issue High Court writ to quash previous rejection of their application for a stay of proceedings

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2012, 3:27am

Three defendants, who failed to thwart fraud prosecutions against them on the grounds that files relating to their trial were deleted by a senior prosecutor, have renewed their efforts for a permanent stay of proceedings.

Kelly Cheng Kit-yin, her daughter Carmen Cheng Wei-ming and Ip Kin-man, former vice-chairwoman and directors of Hong Kong-listed Yueshou Environmental, asked the High Court in a writ to quash the District Court's refusal of their application for a stay.

District Judge Douglas Yau Tak-hong ruled last month that Gavin Shiu, a senior assistant director of public prosecutions with 18 years' experience in the Department of Justice, had not acted in bad faith when he asked his secretary to delete the files and transfer them to his USB thumb drive.

The trio claim the integrity of the trial was so undermined by Shiu's action that a permanent stay should have been ordered.

The trial concerns fraud allegations involving the misuse of letters of credit at Yueshou.

Kelly Cheng, 57, Carmen Cheng, 37, and three other company directors including Ip are charged with 11 counts of conspiracy to defraud and two counts of dealing with the proceeds of an indictable offence.

The defendants claim the liquidators of a subsidiary company have offered not to pursue a criminal complaint against them in exchange for HK$38 million.

In the court paper available yesterday, the trio say Yau's decision was irrational.

They say that Shiu's lack of candour undermined the prosecution's duty to provide documents in relation to the trial.

"This application has … a wider importance to the system of criminal justice in Hong Kong, to the standards which the courts expect and require of prosecutors," they write.

They want the court to order the District Court to grant a permanent stay or to send their application back to the District Court to a new judge. The case is due in the District Court today.