Acquittals upheld for four Hong Kong teachers accused of leaking entrance exam questions

Magistrate Veronica Heung Shuk-han said prosecutors lacked consistency and clarity in convincing the court the questions had to be confidential

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 September, 2016, 10:08pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2016, 2:21am

The Department of Justice yesterday lost its bid to review the ­acquittals of four primary school teachers accused of leaking ­entrance exam questions to parents more than two years ago.

The four, who burst into tears as they walked free in February, sat motionless as Kowloon City Court upheld its initial ruling in finding that prosecutors failed to prove dishonesty was involved.

Magistrate Veronica Heung Shuk-han said prosecutors lacked consistency and clarity in convincing the court the questions had to be confidential.

She also pointed out that ­admission to the school was not solely based on the student’s performance in answering those questions, but also their manners during the interview and other staff ­recommendations.

In siding with the defence, she granted legal costs to Cheng Ka-yee, Tsang Wing-shan, and Wong Pui-man, from Church of Christ in China Heep Woh ­Primary School in Prince Edward.

But U Leng-kok, Tsang’s ­former classmate and a teacher at another primary school, will have to foot her own bill for the ­review as she did not make an ­application.

The four, aged between 35 and 41, were originally charged with obtaining access to a computer with a view to dishonest gain, in that they allegedly leaked pictures and copies of the questions ­concerned via WhatsApp and email in June 2014.

The questions eventually found their way to parents, some of whom had asked the teachers to refer their kids to the school in Prince Edward.

The department said it will study the magistrate’s reasoning and the report from prosecutors to decide if follow-up action is needed.