Hong Kong engineer says judge’s move to reject him as expert witness in traffic accident case ‘unfair’

He says he has been an expert witness in 75 court cases over past 22 years, and may appeal against decision by district court judge

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2016, 8:01am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2016, 8:01am

A veteran mechanical engineer, affectionately known as “Hong Kong’s detective Galileo” for his role in solving tricky traffic disputes, has accused a district court judge of unfairly rejecting him as an expert witness despite his track record.

Lo Kok-keung, 67, an expert witness in 75 court cases over the past 22 years, was known for helping wronged parties seek redress with his expert knowledge on mechanical matters.

He said he will consider seeking an appeal against the decision by deputy district judge Ms Bina Chainrai to reject his qualification as an expert witness on October 5.

“I have been recognised as an expert witness since 1994 in 75 court cases. The judges who accepted my qualification include High Court judges,” he said. “But she disregarded my track record and rejected me giving evidence. I was really shocked.”

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He acknowledged that as a judge, she had the right to reject his qualification, but he doubted whether she really took the common law principles into account.

Lo, who retired from his job at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University last year, intended to act as an expert witness for defendant Leung Ching-chung. Leung was charged with dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm over a traffic accident in October last year.

Earlier in a trial hearing, the prosecution challenged Lo’s qualification, saying he was not trained under the Forensic Accident Investigation and Reconstruction Course jointly organised by the Government Laboratory and the city’s police force. This resulted in the judge refusing to recognise him as an expert witness.

Leung was yesterday jailed for two years after being found guilty of the offence.

However, Lo, who was also a fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineering in the UK, argued it was an internal government course for civil servants only and that such training was not a must for those who qualify as an expert witness. “This course is usually attended by novices without mechanical engineering knowledge,” he said, adding that he only wanted to help the underprivileged with his expert knowledge.

Defence counsel Kevin Hon said he was baffled the judge said Lo must undergo specific training to qualify as an expert. “This is not required under the law,” he said.

Construction worker King Chong, 30, who was cleared of careless driving last month due to Lo’s free expert report, said: “I suffered serious rib injuries in a traffic accident while the other party was unharmed, but police still decided to ... charge me.

“Without the help of Lo, I wouldn’t have been able to have my name cleared.”