A DEFENCE barrister in Hong Kong's first corporate manslaughter trial is undergoing tests in hospital after collapsing on his way home from the High Court. Rodney Pritchard, 53, passed out on the Kowloon car ferry on Friday and was taken to hospital. This is the second time in a matter of weeks that misfortune has struck the defence team in the long-running trial. On February 23, a Legal Department clerk, who had been working with Mr Pritchard, threw himself from a building in an apparent suicide. There is no suggestion that either incident is linked to the trial, which involves the deaths of 12 workmen in a construction-site lift disaster. But the unfortunate events have led one lawyer to question whether there has been bad fung shui around the trial. Mr Pritchard is now in Queen Elizabeth Hospital awaiting the results of tests. Lawyers at his chambers have visited him in hospital, where he has been well enough to chat. On Friday, before the barrister fell ill, the judge told the jury there had been a legal development that could affect the case. He adjourned the trial so that lawyers could consider the situation. Yesterday, Mr Justice Duffy called the jury into court and told them there was another development in the case, namely that Mr Pritchard had been taken to hospital and could not take part in the trial. The court was told Mr Pritchard, who was defending assistant engineer Wong Hon-sang, would be replaced by barrister Simon Westbrook, who is expected to study transcripts of evidence in the case this week. Mr Westbrook has a good knowledge of the trial, having earlier represented another defendant, Hui King-leung, cleared of manslaughter when the prosecution offered no evidence. The case was adjourned until today when the reason for the previous adjournment could be dealt with, Mr Justice Duffy said. However, it is likely the trial will be adjourned again. Mr Pritchard has been representing his client in court since the trial started on February 14. Wong denies manslaughter, along with site safety supervisor Tam Ping-cheong, technician Kwong Tim-yau, and Ajax Engineers and Surveyors Ltd, the company which was responsible for carrying out safety checks on the lift. The last part Mr Pritchard played in the case was to cross-examine prosecution witness Chan Wong, a department head with Ajax. He was unable to continue cross-examination on Friday when the trial was halted because of the legal development, which has not yet been explained to the jury. The case arises out of an accident involving a passenger hoist at the construction site at Java Road, North Point, which fell 17 floors on June 2, 1993.