A JUDGE yesterday criticised the duty lawyer scheme, calling its practices 'unwise' and recommending they be changed. Mr Justice Duffy's comments came during hotel worker Wong King's appeal against his conviction for assault. Wong, 32, claimed that a duty lawyer had argued his case in court without consulting him. Representatives from the scheme produced a record of Wong's instructions - but the document was in English, and he had not been required to sign it. 'This man denies the interview ever took place,' Mr Justice Duffy observed. 'None of this would have happened if he'd been asked to sign the instructions. 'I highly recommend this be done in the future and that the instructions be taken in the language of the litigant.' But Duty Lawyer Service Committee Member Amanda Woodcock told the South China Morning Post signed instructions were unnecessary. 'The scheme lawyer doesn't know the defendant,' she said. 'So he has no reason to make them up. 'If he hadn't been to the scheme to make a statement we wouldn't represent him in a trial.' Outside the High Court, chief court liaison officer Johnson Hau called the judge's suggestions 'harmless' but unnecessary. 'Over 10 years we've never had this kind of allegation before,' he said. Wong appeared in South Kowloon Court on September 27 charged with assault causing actual bodily harm. The case centred on a skirmish in an MTR ticket queue. Magistrate David Dufton convicted the hotel worker, fined him $1,000 and ordered him to pay $2,500 compensation. Despite the controversy over the scheme, Mr Justice Duffy yesterday upheld the magistrate's ruling. On February 3, housewife Ng Suk-ming and her eight-year-old daughter were lining up to buy a common stored value ticket in Jordan station when Wong accused her of barging in, the court heard. He demanded that she join the queue, but she retorted she already had. They began to argue, before Wong slapped the woman twice across the face and pushed her to the ground, prosecutor Johnny Chan said. An MTR staff member arrived and asked the two to go to the office. Wong refused and tried to leave, but Ms Ng blocked his way, keeping him in the station until police arrived. He was then arrested. Ms Ng, 34, was taken to hospital with an injured nose and two swollen fingers.