Barrister accused of faking will 'did not notice' false signature
Lawyer accused of forging will says poor mental health clouded his ability to see fake
A barrister charged with using a fake will in an effort to claim a calligraphy master's estate said his mental condition was so poor that he failed to notice the signature on the will was false, the District Court heard yesterday.
Wong Kwai-sang, 50, was alleged to have submitted the will of master Au Shu-cham, a calligraphy master, to the High Court in October 2009.
The will named Wong as executor and his sister, a pupil of Au who lived with him for more than two decades, as beneficiary. But the police later found that Au's signature on the will was fake.
Wong, who has denied nine charges, said he suffered from insomnia and depression, was very sensitive to noises, had attention deficit problems and had been on medication since 1996.
That was why he had failed to notice the false signature, he said.
In practice, since the 1990s, his poor mental health had also affected his work performance and he had often been reprimanded by the court.
Representing the prosecution in a trial in 2008, he had failed to answer a point of law and the Department of Justice had not given him any work since.
He had also not been offered any cases when he worked as a duty lawyer.
Wong said his mental problems drew him closer to Au, who also suffered from insomnia. He was also a friend of Au's pupil, Chan Kwok-tung, but this ended after he found that Chan wanted to cheat his sister out of money.
The barrister said Au had sold his property in Western to his godson Cheung Wai-ming for HK$1 million, but Au complained he did not receive the money.
After Au died, Chan posted a notice at Au's flat saying Wong was not to enter. He later found Chan and Cheung had exchanged e-mails describing him as "scum" and saying they wanted to send him to jail.
Wong faces six charges of theft of sums between HK$300 and HK$5,000 and one each of using a false instrument, using a copy of a false instrument and lying under oath. The trial continues before Judge Pang Chung-ping.