Defence rests after Yip sacks his legal team

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 February, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 February, 1997, 12:00am

Yip Kai-foon sacked his entire legal team yesterday, but then appeared to fall asleep when it was time for him to conduct his defence.

Yip, 35, said to have been shot three times by police, was slumped over his wheelchair and motionless when given his first chance to cross-examine a prosecution witness in the High Court.

When asked by the judge if he had any questions, there was silence from the dock.

Yip, who had a nurse with him in court, was hit in a shootout with police in Kennedy Town during the early hours of May 13 last year, the court heard.

He denies possessing explosives with intent to endanger life or injure property, having arms and ammunition and using a gun to resist arrest.

His barristers, Graeme Mackay and Eric Kwok, left the case on Thursday at Yip's request. The development could not be reported then because the jury had not been informed.

But Mr Justice Michael Stuart-Moore called the jurors into court yesterday and said: 'Yip has decided to dispense with Mr Mackay and Mr Kwok and his solicitors.' The judge said the move was within Yip's rights.

Firearms expert Tam Chi-kung told the jury of the guns, bullets and holsters which he examined at the scene of the alleged shootout between Yip and police.

He held up a blood-stained shirt which the prosecution said was worn by Yip and pointed out three bullet holes in it.

Yip remained silent when the judge asked him whether he had any questions for Mr Tam.

'You have a right, if you wish to exercise it, to question this witness. You do not have to ask him any questions,' Mr Justice Stuart-Moore said.

He warned Yip it could be his only chance to do so because the expert was due to start a new job in America on Monday.

But Yip did not respond. 'I shall take the silence as being no questions,' said the judge.

Yip stayed motionless as the day's session ended. He is accused of firing shots from a pistol while being pursued by police in Kennedy Town. He is also alleged to have been in possession of 1.8 kilograms of explosives.

The trial continues.