Corrupt professionals may escape justice because of an Appeal Court ruling that blocks prosecutions, the ICAC claimed yesterday. The Independent Commission Against Corruption says the judgment, one of the last given by outgoing Chief Justice Sir Ti Liang Yang, would have a 'crucial' impact on its ability to track down crooked lawyers, estate agents and financiers. Ian McWalters, for the ICAC, asked the Court of Appeal to allow the decision to be challenged in the Privy Council. He said the issue was of great public importance. But the court refused to grant leave for a Privy Council hearing and said the judgment had been misunderstood. The August 22 ruling declared an ICAC raid on a firm of solicitors unlawful, quashing a search warrant used to seize documents. Officers carried out the raid as part of a probe into claims a solicitor struck a corrupt deal with disgraced former prosecutor Warwick Reid. Sir Ti Liang and Mr Justice Henry Litton ruled the warrant was invalid because material used to obtain it did not contain evidence of a crime under the specific bribery law concerned. Mr McWalters said the court had ruled that even if the ICAC could prove the solicitor, named only as 'Mr A', had received a $500,000 bribe it could not charge him under the relevant section of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance. Mr Justice Litton disagreed. He said the ruling related only to the warrant and to the information which had been provided to obtain it. Mr Justice Litton and Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary said yesterday the matter should not go to the Privy Council because the case was about documents no longer in contention. But Mr Justice Benjamin Liu disagreed, saying the matter was of such importance it should be considered by judges in London. 'Mr A' was alleged to have helped arrange for Reid to provide his client, Ch'ng Poh, with a false statement for use in his appeal against a fraud conviction. The ICAC will consider seeking special leave from the Privy Council to challenge the ruling.