Ex-champion racing trainer Brian Kan appeals against poll bribe conviction

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 October, 2012, 3:34am

Former champion horse trainer Brian Kan Ping-chee appealed in the High Court yesterday against his conviction and 14-week jail term for election corruption.

Kan's appeal centred on technical arguments relating to forensic evidence and the magistrate's analysis of the evidence during his trial last year in Fanling Court.

Kan, 75, was convicted last November after denying one count of engaging in corrupt conduct during an election - offering a HK$130,000 bribe to a village representative to vote for him.

The prosecution will later argue for a longer jail term, saying the sentence was too lenient. A date has not yet been fixed for that hearing. Mr Justice Derek Pang Wai-cheong, of the Court of First Instance, reserved his judgment on Kan's appeal, which will probably be delivered in December. Kan has been free on bail after spending almost a month in custody between his conviction and sentencing.

Asked whether he was confident about the appeal, Kan, wearing his trademark sunglasses, said outside the court: "I'm not sure." He did not answer any other questions.

Kan joined the Hong Kong Jockey Club when he returned from Britain in 1969 and went on to become champion trainer five times, with five Hong Kong Derby winners. The trial heard that Kan, a Sheung Shui district village representative, was a candidate for the Sheung Shui District Rural Committee executive committee.

Village representative Liu Fu-sau testified that Kan arrived at his convenience store and left him HK$130,000, before the election on March 15, which Kan lost.

Yesterday, Kan's lawyer Wong Man-kit SC, said that although evidence showed his client had asked Liu to support him in the election, it did not necessarily mean something illegal had taken place.

"The chief executive is elected by some 1,200 people, but the chief executive candidate will still ask for support from the public," Wong said. He also said Magistrate Symon Wong Yu-wing had failed to consider fingerprint evidence produced by the defence, which challenged the claim that Kan had offered money to Liu.

In the original trial, fingerprint experts had argued over whether the single, imperfect fingerprint found on the cash - handed over in HK$1,000 banknotes - was sufficient to support the prosecution's case.

Kan's lawyer Wong cited a fingerprint expert who said there was only a "minimal" chance that only a single fingerprint would be found on the money if Liu and his wife had really counted every note, as they claimed.