Appeal court judges cross about law firm's failures

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 January, 2014, 4:48am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 January, 2014, 4:48am

The Court of Appeal yesterday criticised a law firm for failing to properly file court documents to inform the court that an action would be abandoned before a hearing, wasting judges' time in preparing for the case.

According to a judgment, law firm Raymond Kwong and Co had used an outdated form to file a notice of abandonment to tell the court that its client would not seek permission to appeal against his conviction. It also failed to fill in the sentence imposed on its client and as a result the form was rejected by the High Court Registry. The client had decided to give up the action nine days before the scheduled day.

The three judges also criticised barrister Keith Fung for not alerting the court when he knew of the firm's failure in filing the documents two days before the hearing. Fung told the court of his client's intention to pursue only the application for leave to appeal against sentence, but not against conviction, only on the day of the hearing.

"We found it astonishing that a firm of solicitors was unable to properly file a notice of abandonment on behalf of a client, particularly when an unrepresented applicant in custody has no difficulty in filing such a notice via the Correctional Services Department," said Mrs Justice Judianna Barnes Wai-ling. "Valuable judicial time was wasted."

The judgment involved Kamarulzaman Bin Annuar, who was jailed for three years for possessing HK$50 billion worth of fake US dollar bills and a bogus certificate of balance.