A High Court judge who bungled an Insider Dealing Tribunal hearing was yesterday blasted by a colleague for conducting 'justice behind closed doors'. Mr Justice David Yam Yee-kwan ignored the 'fundamental cornerstone' of open justice in his handling of the hearing, the Court of First Instance ruled. He also breached inquiry rules by letting tribunal counsel 'ghostwrite' his report. Mr Justice Yam took nine months to deliver the report to the Financial Secretary, having earlier ordered a draft report to be destroyed. The 1996 hearing, which heard the bulk of evidence over six months, is estimated to have cost taxpayers $40 million. Mr Justice Yam's unorthodox actions were strongly criticised by Mr Justice Raymond Sears, who yesterday completed a judicial review of the hearing into the activities of Paragon and CNPC (Hong Kong). Mr Justice Sears quashed the findings of the tribunal, which Mr Justice Yam chaired, and banned the report from being made public. 'What action the Financial Secretary wishes to take is for him to say,' he said. Mr Justice Yam conducted 39 hours of closed-door meetings with tribunal counsel Peter Davies, the Court of First Instance heard. 'Open justice is the fundamental cornerstone of the system and must never be eroded. This principle was ignored by the tribunal,' Mr Justice Sears said. He criticised Mr Justice Yam for delegating the task of writing the report and Mr Davies for getting involved. Lawyers for Paragon were never told about the closed-door discussions, even though evidence affecting their clients was discussed, the review was told. The meetings only came to light when Tan Leong Min - one of two Malaysian businessmen named by the tribunal - was charged for not appearing at the inquiry. Mr Justice Sears called the criminal charge 'a spiteful prosecution'. Mr Tan was cleared, but the tribunal has appealed against the decision. Mr Justice Sears ordered legal costs for the review to be paid by the Government. The South China Morning Post was told High Court Chief Judge Patrick Chan Siu-oi planned to study the landmark case.