Court of Appeal's Mr Justice Frank Stock retires

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 June, 2014, 4:06am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 June, 2014, 4:55am

On his last day as a full-time judge in the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice Frank Stock reminded the legal profession of its commitment to justice and independence.

"There are times when judgments go one way, times when they go another; times when some groups are happy with the judgments, times when they are not. That is how it works. That is the common by-product of independent judiciaries … in the very DNA of which rests a commitment to judge cases according to law, no more and no less," Stock (pictured) said at his farewell ceremony yesterday.

More than 200 people attended, including judges, lawyers and his family.

He also pressed the case for criminal justice reform, especially to minimise delays for those awaiting trial and to avoid wasting public funds in cases that drag on for too long.

Stock suggested that judges try calling people by their names rather than by "D1" (first defendant) and "PW1" (prosecution witness one) in judgments.

"This is not only dehumanising but also confusing. So I hope this suggestion will attract the support of the judge on my right [Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li], who is otherwise known as J1," said Stock, who is known for his sense of humour.

Stock grew up in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and studied law in England. He joined Hong Kong's Attorney General's Chambers in 1978, became a Queen's Counsel in 1985 and solicitor general in 1991. He became a High Court judge in 1992, was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2009 and became its vice-president in 2009.

He has sat in many major and controversial constitutional law cases. After he retires, he will sit in the Court of Final Appeal as a non-permanent judge.