Defence in indecent assault case question alleged victim's diary entries

Woman who says she was molested by prominent academic reduced to tears during cross-examination

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 June, 2014, 6:40pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 June, 2014, 4:19am

A woman who is accusing an academic of molesting her was brought to tears on the witness stand yesterday under questioning by a defence lawyer.

During cross-examination in Eastern Court, the 39-year-old woman, identified in court as X, was asked why entries in a black leather-bound notebook, kept between November 2009 and January 2010, had been written in different ink and not in chronological order.

Defence barrister Bruce Tse Chee-ho, for 73-year-old Professor Lee Ngok, surmised that some of the written details might have been added or changed last year, when she finally reported the assaults to police.

An emotional X denied the suggestion, saying it was her "style of writing" to pen entries over different blocks of time during a day or a week.

"I went back to add in descriptions [of the assaults] after I felt I needed to protect myself," she said from behind a partition, specially requested so she did not have to look at Lee.

Tse observed that in many entries, X had penned "meeting with Prof Lee, aims and objectives" a day before seeing him. These words did not appear before January 8 and 9, two of the alleged days of offence.

"The meetings on January 8 and 9 did not happen," Tse said. "You added the entries in 2013."

Lee is a consultant for the further education institution where X works. He is charged with indecently assaulting her on six occasions from 2007 to 2010.

Another woman, 32, accuses Lee of indecent assault at CityU between March and October 2010. The witness, identified as Y, will testify today.

Lee has pleaded not guilty to all eight counts.

Last week, Tse suggested X "fabricated" the accusations against the professor "to take revenge" over a business dispute.

The court heard on Friday that Lee had allegedly leaked information about another institution he consulted for, which was trying to acquire the college, causing the plan to collapse.

Lee served as dean of the University of Hong Kong arts faculty and later became founding director of the university's School of Professional and Continuing Education. He then moved to Australia, to take up the post of pro-vice-chancellor at the University of Southern Queensland.

The hearing continues before Magistrate So Wai-tak.