Activist told no politics in court

A judge yesterday told a veteran activist he would not turn his court into a political arena after upholding his conviction for contempt of the Legislative Council.

Mr Justice Woo Kwok-hing told Leung Kwok-hung, 43, that 'the court will not discuss politics', after dismissing his appeal against conviction and sentence.

After his appeal against a 14-day suspended jail sentence was rejected, Leung, a core member of the April 5th Action Group, tried to complain that neither the Chief Executive, the Government nor the legislature was elected by the people of Hong Kong.

'We do not talk about the political system in Hong Kong in courts,' Mr Justice Woo told him.

'Your appointment is already a political decision,' the activist replied to the judge.

'That's only what you think,' said the judge, who is also the chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission.

The Court of First Instance judge dismissed Leung's appeal against conviction and sentence.

Leung was found guilty after trial before a magistrate in May and sentenced to 14 days in prison, suspended for a year.

Leung was arrested after shouting from the public gallery at Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, who was addressing lawmakers about his policy speech in October last year.

Leung argued the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance gave everyone freedom of speech and debate in the legislature.

But Mr Justice Woo rejected Leung's claim that members of the public enjoyed the same freedom as legislators to exercise free speech.

He ruled that the privilege applied only to members and officers of the Legislative Council.

The judge also rejected Leung's claim that Magistrate Li Wai-chi was biased for calling Tung Chee-hwa 'our Chief Executive'.

'The 'our Chief Executive' in the magistrate's words is the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region,' Mr Justice Woo said.

'It is only a short form. If he was to say the Chief Executive, people might wonder the Chief Executive of where?' Leung risks serving the prison sentence if he commits any offence within 12 months from the date of sentence.