Lew Mon-hung asks what role former ally Leung Chun-ying had in ICAC probe

Businessman and former ally of chief executive asks to see all communications between Leung and ICAC chief at trial for perverting justice

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 November, 2013, 4:17am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 November, 2013, 11:02am

Prominent businessman Lew Mon-hung has asked the prosecution in his trial for perverting public justice to provide him with a copy of all communications between the chief executive and the head of the city's graft-buster.

Lew, a former close ally of Leung Chun-ying, asked to see all communications between Leung or Independent Commission Against Corruption chief Simon Peh Yun-lu and any other ICAC representative.

Lew wants the information before he will decide on whether to proceed with his application for a stay in the trial proceedings.

Senior barrister Graham Harris, for Lew, said: "We want to explore the extent to which, if at all, either of these gentlemen were involved in the decision-making process which became part of the ICAC investigation."

He said that the pair's possible involvement "may amount to some sort of conflict of interest".

The court heard yesterday that neither Leung nor Peh would testify as prosecution witnesses in the trial.

Lew, a former member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, has pleaded not guilty to one count of perverting the course of public justice.

The charge alleges that Lew, former deputy chairman and executive director of Pearl Oriental Oil, sent two e-mails and a letter to Leung and Peh in an attempt to get them to halt an ICAC investigation against him or others because of his past association with Leung.

Asked what the initial grounds for the stay application were, Harris said: "The release to the press on February 17 of information specifically addressing the allegation and preceding by one day the investigation by the ICAC of those matters."

Harris said the release of the contents of some of the communications to the press might have given rise to "pressure" and "prejudice" - which could amount to an abuse of process.

"We know for sure that we were not responsible for any leak [of the contents of some of the communications]," he said.

He added that the defence team would explore whether prejudice would have been created if it was the case that the leak was from either the ICAC or the chief executive's office, which was why they wanted to see the communications.

The prosecution will serve the requested information, if there is any, to the defence team on November 7.

The defence team also said that if they failed in the stay application, they might make an application to adjourn the current proceedings against Lew until after his conspiracy to defraud case in the High Court next year.

District Judge Poon Siu-tung said the court would hear the application of stay proceedings on November 15.