LEGAL history was made at the High Court yesterday when a witness gave evidence by live video link for the first time ever in a Hong Kong trial. From a prime seat in the public gallery, Chief Justice Sir Ti Liang Yang watched as Danish official Poul Gideon gave evidence from a studio in Ballerup, a suburb of Copenhagen. Pictures of the witness testifying were shown on a large screen in one corner of the court. 'It is quite amazing. I am very impressed. It is a whole new horizon for me. I never knew it could happen,' the Chief Justice said. 'I am completely in favour of it,' he said of the move towards the use of new technology in courts. The historic testimony began when the television screens flickered at 3.45 pm. Barristers in wigs and gowns stared intently at two screens in court: one showed the witness in Denmark; the other focused on whoever was asking him questions in Hong Kong. Mr Justice Barnett had to move from his seat to the witness box so he could view the screens and get on camera when speaking. A camera mounted on top of the larger screen zoomed in on barristers and the judge as they spoke. These pictures were beamed to the witness. Several High Court judges popped in to watch the proceedings, and Clive Grossman QC, the first barrister to question Mr Gideon, told him: 'A lot of people will be coming and watching because this is an innovation in Hong Kong.' Mr Justice Barnett thanked the witness for assisting the court and said he could have a 10-minute break halfway through the two-hour session. 'We are anxious this should not be too much of a strain for you,' he said. Mr Gideon, managing director of the Export Credit Council in Denmark, was giving evidence in a US$94 million (HK$726 million) legal battle involving loans made in 1983 and 1984 by Danish Shipping Finance to a former subsidiary of Wheelock Marden and Company. Solicitor Andrew Dekany, representing the Danish company in London, stood in for the witness during a trial run of the video link last Friday. Pictures are beamed through a modem and international telephone line. The cost of the operation is being met by the Danish firm. A simultaneous computer transcription service is also being used during the trial. Last month, 15 judges attended a workshop to enable them to see the system in operation. The trial, which is expected to last seven months, continues today. Mr Gideon is expected to give evidence for two hours daily until next week.