Retired Hong Kong policeman cleared of assaulting hockey teammate during ‘horseplay’

Former superintendent’s lawyer says there was no animosity between the two men and calls the prosecution ‘disgraceful’

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 July, 2016, 8:03am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 July, 2016, 8:03am

A retired police superintendent accused of slapping a field hockey teammate and rupturing his ear drum was cleared of assault on Tuesday after what his lawyer called a “disgraceful” prosecution.

Robin Jolly, 59, emerged from Kowloon City Court with a bright smile as he announced: “I think [the magistrate] made the right decision. Justice is seen to be done.”

His counsel Peter Pannu went further, saying: “I think it’s disgraceful that the case was prosecuted.

“There’s no animosity between the defendant and the alleged victim. This was nothing more than just horseplay.”

Former policeman accused of assault in hockey slap

Alleged victim Ditta Allah Dad, 54, had testified that Jolly slapped him with great force at Kowloon Cricket Club in Jordan after a game on May 17. Ditta found water leaking from his left ear 30 minutes later and recalled that he felt dizzy and great pain.

A subsequent medical examination revealed a 40 per cent rupture in Ditta’s left ear drum, requiring an operation scheduled for this December. But his medical consultant agreed with Jolly’s counsel that he could not confirm if the injury was fresh.

I am doubtful that the defendant is culpable
Deputy magistrate Leung Ka-kie

While Jolly could not recall if he had slapped Ditta, he conceded in self-defence that he may have patted his teammate at the bar as a gesture of compliment.

Deputy magistrate Leung Ka-kie said: “I am doubtful that the defendant is culpable.”

She cleared Jolly on one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm as she could not be sure of his intent behind the alleged contact.

The court previously heard that Jolly was a robust hockey and rugby player who had a pleasant relationship with Ditta, a teammate he had recommended as player of the year.

His counsel Kevin Egan had argued that the purported slap was not deliberate contact involving the application of force, but rather an act of friendly horseplay commonly engaged in by men playing such physical sports.

He also asked why Ditta did not immediately complain when he was allegedly slapped in front of his teammates. Instead, he travelled to Yuen Long and went shopping in Jordan before he called police four hours later.

Leung further noted that Ditta allowed Jolly to hug him and pat his shoulders right after the alleged slap and did not question Jolly before deciding to call police.

“This would have been done if [Ditta] found it unacceptable,” she said.