Legal flaw allows seven to go free

AT least seven people convicted of forgery offences had their convictions quashed on a technicality.

The seven were accused of forgery offences under the Crimes Ordinance after it was amended on June 26 last year. However, they were charged and convicted under old provisions.

They have since been pardoned by the Governor and their forgery convictions quashed.

Six were jailed for forgery and the seventh was put on probation.

Legal Department principal officer Mr C. H. Tse said that the matter was due to a ''technical flaw''.

He said: ''Some of the accused committed the offences before the amendment was made but by the time their cases came up in court, the ordinance had been amended and as such they should have been charged under the new provisions.

''When their cases were brought to court with improperly framed charges, it somehow slipped through the legal net.'' He added: ''Technically, their conduct constituted criminal offences but because their charges were not properly framed, their convictions were quashed.'' ''We will continue to check for such cases and if they are found, a request for a Governor's pardon will be made,'' he said.