Jurors in trial of Rafael Hui and Kwok brothers told not to worry over complexities
Austin Chiu and Stuart Lau
Prosecutors of the city's most high-profile corruption trial said yesterday that they hoped a lengthy trial based on an allegedly elaborate scheme to mask a money trail would not be too daunting for the jury.
"Try to be relaxed. Don't worry at all," lead prosecuting lawyer David Perry QC said as he started his opening speech, which he said would run into next week.
Perry assured jurors that he would use "ordinary language" and promised to make the prosecution's case "interesting" so it would be easy to follow.
The trial is set for 70 court days and is expected to run until October.
"Please don't worry about all the detail," Perry said.
"Because it must be a little intimidating [that there are] so many papers and so many new things to absorb on the first day or the second day of the proceedings.
"I hope that is not too daunting a task."
He joked that his speech would become more "entertaining" because the jury would have documents to read and did not need to hear and look at him all the time.
The trial, delayed when the original jury had to be discharged, was not without jury issues yesterday.
After lunch, a juror complained about back pain after sitting for the whole morning.
"I'm sorry that the chair is not as comfortable as I promised," Mr Justice Andrew Macrae said. He was apparently referring to his assurance on Wednesday that jurors' chairs were cozy in encouraging a potential juror who wanted to be excused because of hip pain.
And when that juror, who was not exempted from duty, was released on a defence lawyer's challenge, the judge joked: "You will never know how comfortable those chairs are."
When Macrae asked the unhappy juror yesterday whether she had tried another chair, she said: "Even worse".
"It doesn't work," she said when the judge asked if she would try a cushion.
"When we retire today, you can have a word with my clerk and say what you want and we will get it," Macrae said.
Just before the jurors were sworn in yesterday morning, a woman juror asked the judge if she was allowed to sit if her husband worked in the police force. The judge said she would only be exempted if she was the wife of the chief justice or a judge, or if she was married to someone in the People's Liberation Army.
She stayed after she said she could try the case impartially and fairly.