Legal first for Hong Kong expert witness who helps deliver justice in Macau for accused motorist
Engineer Lo Kok-keung’s meticulous eye for detail proves crucial in acquittal of driver accused of inflicting serious injuries on a motorcyclist
Lo Kok-keung has made countless appearances at Hong Kong’s courts, using his knowledge to challenge prosecutors’ charges and, more importantly, helping those he thinks have been wronged.
After earning recognition in the city as an expert witness, the mechanical engineer has turned his attention to Macau, where he recently became the first foreign expert witness in a court of the former Portuguese colony. Lo again was on the winning side as his client was acquitted of careless driving.
Recalling the case at Polytechnic University, where he spent 40 years before retiring in 2015, Lo explained why he took up the case.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University detective Lo Kok-keung will keep coming to the rescue of the wronged
“It’s all about site evidence and the testimonies from both sides ... the plaintiff’s claims were doubtful, but the defendant was more consistent,” he said.
The defendant, a middle-aged woman, was accused of knocking down a scooter from behind while taking a left bend in the road, inflicting severe injuries on the motorcyclist. But Lo realised the case was littered with mistakes.
“If the motorbike was really hit from behind, there must be a dent. But the paint [on the scooter] was intact,” he pointed out.
Instead, two dents left by the scooter’s handlebars on the left side of the car suggested the motorcyclist was parallel to the vehicle when the accident took place.
Using the position of the dents and the dimensions of the vehicles, Lo calculated the scooter was tilting at 20 degrees at the time of impact, 10 times over the tipping angle of 2 degrees.
“That means the motorcyclist lost her balance and struck [my client’s] car from the side,” he said.
He even went on to prove that his client was a cautious driver by determining her reaction time was 0.37 seconds. The motorcyclist, who fell between the wheels under the car after impact, may have been run over if the reaction time was any longer, he added.
Together with a comprehensive report that took him three weeks to compile, Lo helped the driver get justice in June.
“It means a lot to me to be accepted as an expert witness in Macau ... That means my credentials are recognised not just in Hong Kong,” he said.
Having testified in court more than 70 times, Lo, 68, was shocked last year when a District Court judge rejected his qualifications, citing a “training course” he had failed to take.
Asked if he felt vindicated, Lo said he only felt relieved and satisfied that he could help others using his professional knowledge.
Now receiving two to three requests a month for assistance, Lo said he only pursued cases with errors.
“If I see no justification to challenge the prosecution, then I will urge them to plead guilty instead.”