Lawmaker Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung may face dangerous driving charge
Executive councillor and legislator Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung may face a more serious driving charge after a magistrate ordered the prosecution to review his careless driving summons.
Principal Magistrate Ernest Lin made the order after hearing that Lam had driven on the wrong side of the road for 15 to 17 metres.
The case was initially put before Deputy Special Magistrate Hau Cheuk-man, but he later transferred it to Lin.
Lin adjourned the case to October 25 while the prosecution seeks legal advice from the Department of Justice.
No mention was made in court of any other possible charge.
But under the Road Traffic Ordinance, a dangerous driving conviction carries a fine and up to three years in prison, while the maximum for careless driving is a fine and six months' jail.
Lam was originally charged with driving carelessly at the corner of Wang Chiu Road and Cheung Yip Street in Kowloon Bay on July 1. Lam is also a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
He told the court: "It was my first time driving to that place. It was raining and I was driving slowly."
He said his suspicions that something might be wrong were aroused after a traffic officer directed him to turn right.
"Then I observed the road condition and slowly drove my car to the next junction and drove into the correct lane," he said.
Outside court, Lam said he had been driving to join the Hong Kong Dome Festival.
Lam was not legally represented yesterday. But he said he would consider hiring a lawyer, depending on the final charge.
A Justice Department spokesman said it had not been requested to give legal advice before the summons was issued.
"After receiving the case file, the department will advise the police on the offence, evidence and the appropriate venue of trial after examining the case and its evidence," he said.
Legal academic Eric Cheung Tat-ming said many factors would determine whether Lam would be charged with dangerous driving, including the road condition at the time.
"Sometimes, it's difficult to draw a line between careless driving and dangerous driving," Cheung said.