A HIGH Court judge yesterday accused the Obscene Articles Tribunal of wasting public money by making such unreasonable decisions that they were wrong in law. Mr Justice Findlay, a former director of public prosecutions, also ruled that tribunal members should no longer be protected by having their identities kept secret. The judge allowed three appeals by the Eastern Express newspaper against decisions by the tribunal. However, Mr Justice Findlay has no power to change the ruling and can only send the cases back to the tribunal to be reconsidered. The judge ordered the tribunal to pay for the cost of the hearing. Two of the appeals related to newspaper items, one of them a picture of Michelangelo's David, which the tribunal classified as indecent. The third appeal was lodged on the grounds that it was unconstitutional for the names of tribunal members to remain anonymous. 'These cases have, in my view, involved a great waste of time, money and valuable resources,' Mr Justice Findlay said. The purpose of the tribunal was to protect the community from harm. 'I cannot believe the isolated publication of the two items in these appeals, or the disclosure of the identity of the adjudicators, could have, by any stretch of the imagination, led to any harm at all to the people of Hong Kong,' he said. The tribunal's decision on David was 'totally incomprehensible', he said. The picture appeared in an advertisement for an art gallery in December last year. 'The statue of David has been in existence for some 500 years. It is recognised universally as a magnificent example of Renaissance art,' Mr Justice Findlay said. 'I have never, until now, heard any sensible person suggest it is indecent, even in the original, standing some 14 feet [about 4.3 metres] in height on view to anyone who cares to visit it in, I believe, Florence.' Mr Justice Findlay said he could see no reason why the names of adjudicators should remain secret. 'It is contrary to the interests of justice and the common good that any judicial decision, no matter how minor in importance, should be handed down by someone who is not readily identifiable,' he said, adding the case must be reopened. In the case in which the tribunal had held that an article warning parents that obscene comic books could fall into the hands of their children was indecent, the judge said it was difficult to see how any reasonable tribunal could have concluded that the article did not have an honest purpose. The tribunal's presiding magistrate, Gregory Chan, retired and was replaced by Cary Yeung.