Former champion horse trainer Brian Kan Ping-chee appealed in the High Court on Thursday against his conviction and 14-week jail term for election corruption.
Kan’s appeal centred on technical arguments relating to forensic evidence and the magistrate’s analysis of the evidence, in his trial last year in Fanling Court.
Kan, 75, was convicted in November of one count of engaging in corrupt conduct during an election – offering a HK$130,000 bribe to a village representative to vote for him. He pleaded not guilty. Kan has been free on bail after spending almost a month in custody between his conviction and sentencing.
Mr Justice Derek Pang Wai-cheong, of the Court of First Instance, reserved his judgment, which will probably be delivered in December.
Asked whether he was confident about the appeal, Kan, wearing sunglasses as usual, said: “I’m not sure.” He did not take other questions.
Kan joined the Hong Kong Jockey Club when he returned from Britain in 1969 and went on to become champion trainer five times. He trained five Hong Kong Derby winners.
Evidence heard in first trial showed that Kan, a Sheung Shui district village representative, was a candidate for the Sheung Shui District Rural Committee executive committee.
Village representative Liu Fu-sau testified during the trial that Kan arrived at his convenience store one day and left him HK$130,000, before the election was held on March 15 last year.
Kan received 16 votes, losing to another candidate, Bowie Hau Chi-keung, who received 44.
On Thursday, Kan’s lawyer Wong Man-kit, SC, said that although evidence showed his client had asked Liu to support him in the election, it did not necessarily mean something illegal had happened.
“The chief executive is elected by some 1,200 people, but the chief executive candidate will still ask for support from the public,” Wong said.
Wong argued that Kan had asked for Liu’s support because, if Kan was elected, he would get more co-operation from Liu because Liu was a village representative.
Wong also said the magistrate had failed to consider fingerprint evidence produced by the defence, which attacked the claim that Kan had offered money to Liu.
In the original trial, fingerprint experts had argued over whether the single, imperfect fingerprint found on the cash – 130 HK$1,000 banknotes – was sufficient to support the prosecution’s case.
On Thursday, Wong cited a fingerprint expert who said there was only a “minimal” chance that only a single fingerprint would be found on the money if Liu and his wife had really counted every note, as they claimed.
The prosecution said the probability of having fingerprints on the banknotes was five out of a thousand. But Wong, relying on evidence by an expert, argued that the chance was actually 40 per cent.
Deputy director of public prosecution William Tam Yiu-ho said the expert evidence provided by the defence was “valueless” and had no bearing on the case at all.