Judge denies bid to have Lantau cow death trial dismissed
Defence lawyer claims there is no evidence to prove his client’s car was involved
A bid to dismiss a case involving the deaths of a group of feral cows on a Lantau road was denied yesterday despite the defence claiming there was “not a shred of evidence” to prove his client’s car was even on the road at the time of the incident.
Defence counsel William Allan made the comments in a bid to have the case thrown out after a key prosecution witness the previous day said that dents found on the defendant’s car were inconsistent with a collision with wild cattle.
The witness was giving evidence at the trial of Sarah Wilson, 49, a British engineer who has been accused of failing to submit a police form reporting the accident within 21 days.
Steven Quilkey, who came across the animals and called police, previously told the court that it would have taken a truck or a tank to have caused the injuries to the cows. He said the car suspected of hitting the eight animals could not have emerged with just small dents unless it had machine guns in front.
In court today, Allan said: “No way was this vehicle involved in this incident. The destruction would have killed the driver or caused serious injuries. There is no case for my client to answer.”
Magistrate Raymond Wong Kwok-fai declined Allan’s request, however, following remarks from the prosecution that the wording of the charges do not imply Wilson was the driver, but rather that she is simply the registered owner of the car.
Wilson was arrested on June 5 last year after police found her car in a parking area in Tong Fuk village and suspected that it was related to the cows’ deaths as it was damaged and had cow hair on its bumper.
The defendant said she owned the car, but that it had been parked in the village during the time of the incident on the South Lantau Road.
The Road Traffic Ordinance states that where the driver of a vehicle is suspected of breaking the law, both the registered owner and the person suspected of being the driver shall on demand give the police their name, address, licence number and relationship to the offending driver.
Court heard that Wilson was taken to the Lantau North Police Station and asked to fill in a “notice requiring identification of driver”.
She asked if she could write “no details of the driver” and was told she could, however, she might be prosecuted if there was enough evidence. She did not provide further information in the following 21 days as required.
Called to give evidence by the defence, long-term Tong Fuk resident Albert Thomas told the court that cattle frequently roam around the parking area and rub themselves against the bumpers and rear-view mirrors of vehicles.
It was conceivable that the animals’ behaviour could damage vehicles, although he was unaware of any particular instances, Thomas said.
The case continues on Wednesday in Tsuen Wan Magistrates’ Court.