A former police officer has applied for a judicial review to challenge a procedure for screening applications to appeal in court.
Johnnie Tsui Kin-kwok took his case to the top court, arguing his right to a fair hearing had been violated and that the procedure contradicted a judge's duty to give adequate reason when making a rejection.
Tsui had admitted 16 counts of disciplinary breaches in 1997 and 1998. For four of the counts, he was forced into compulsory retirement, suspended for one year, and forfeited his pay. He was finally sent into retirement in 1998 when he was found to have performed poorly during suspension.
Tsui lodged an application for judicial review against the findings last year after a landmark ruling by the Court of Final Appeal against a ban on legal representation for officers during disciplinary proceedings. The Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeal both ruled against him.
He then went to the Court of Final Appeal, but he was rejected in a summons under the Court of Final Appeal Rules. Under Rule 7, if the registrar of the Court of Final Appeal finds an application to have no reasonable grounds for leave to appeal, is frivolous or fails to comply with the court's rules, he may ask the applicant to explain before the Appeal Committee why it should not reject the application. The committee may order the application be dismissed or give other directions.
Now, in an application for judicial review at the High Court on Tuesday, Tsui is challenging that rule. He is seeking a court order that the registrar review his decision in issuing the Rule 7 summons and give adequate reason if he maintains his earlier decision. He is also asking the court to declare Rule 7 contradictory to a judge's duty to give adequate reasons and violates his right to a fair hearing.