Teacher's vital omission casts doubt on student's 'indecent assault'
Educator failed to mention that student had touched her breast in initial legal letter
The barrister defending a student accused of indecently assaulting his teacher has questioned a vital omission in a letter the educator's lawyers sent to her pupil.
Ho Man-tai, 18, admits punching his teacher, tugging her hair and putting keys into her mouth, causing her to bleed, but he denies touching her breast.
Chan Pak-kong, speaking in Tuen Mun Court on the last day of the trial, questioned why the letter demanding compensation failed to mention the indecent assault.
He said the omission suggested that this detail of the assault might not have happened.
Recalled for cross-examination yesterday, the teacher confirmed she had instructed her lawyers to send the letter and that she intended to seek compensation from Ho.
She agreed that a description of the events in that document did not include everything she had said in her court testimony - specifically, the indecent assault.
Ho is accused of touching the breast of his teacher, who is in her 20s, in a room at a Tin Shui Wai school during a violent outburst which took place on November 30.
The court earlier heard that Ho had received the letter on January 17 - six days after the trial began on January 11.
Questioned by Chan yesterday, the teacher denied that she had sent the letter before the end of the trial to put pressure on the defendant.
She also rejected a suggestion that the pupil had not indecently assaulted her.
Chan floated two possible explanations for the incident being left out of the letter.
Firstly, that the teacher had not told her lawyers about the encounter or, secondly, that she had done so, but the detail had been left out of the letter by mistake.
"If she did not tell her lawyer, why is that? Why not tell the whole truth? This raises the question: 'Did the indecent assault really happen?'" Chan said.
The teacher exercised her right not to disclose details of her communications with her lawyers, which are protected by legal professional privilege.
The magistrate reminded her at the beginning of the hearing about her right to do so.
Deputy Magistrate Hui Chun-sing adjourned the case to March 21 for a verdict.