A High Court judge yesterday held a secret meeting with lawyers to discuss allegations made to a jury by an incest trial witness. Mr Justice Thomas Gall said the reason for going behind closed doors was that 'it is not a matter which requires publicity at this stage'. The press wrote to the judge expressing concern the desire to avoid publicity was being used as an excuse for not discussing the matter in open court. The press would not be allowed to publish the discussions until the end of the trial if they took place in the absence of the jury. Mr Justice Gall's clerk said the judge had read the letter and his reply was 'no comment'. He had earlier sent a message to reporters saying that from time to time it was necessary for a judge to speak to lawyers in private. The judge's comments came after a 14-year-old girl, who claims her father had sex with her between 28 and 34 times, gave evidence about a telephone call with her elder sister. She told the court she discussed the case about two weeks ago with her sister who said members of her family, including her mother, would commit suicide if anything happened to her father. When the case ended for the day, the judge said he wished to discuss the allegations the girl had made about her sister. After the brief consultation took place, prosecutor Stuart Cotsen said he could not reveal what had been said because it had taken place in the judge's chambers. On Wednesday, another High Court judge, Mr Justice Wally Yeung Chun-kuen, mysteriously adjourned a conspiracy to murder case after having a hearing in chambers. Yesterday, Judiciary spokesman Lam Yuk-ling said in a letter to the editor of the South China Morning Post that it was incorrect to accuse Mr Justice Yeung of sanctioning a secret court hearing. She said Mr Justice Yeung had told counsel the matter should be dealt with in open court as soon as the lawyers asked him for an adjournment. Nothing was said in chambers which was not aired in open court, Ms Lam added. This appeared to conflict with comments made in open court by defence barrister Neville Sarony, QC, when he asked the judge to adjourn the case 'for reasons which were disclosed to your Lordship in chambers'. Ms Lam said: 'My personal opinion is that you should not be so suspicious.'