Two men jailed for possessing pirated compact discs had their convictions quashed yesterday when the Court of Appeal ruled the prosecution had put them on trial in the wrong court. Tang Siu-kwong and Mak Wai-hon had been sentenced at the District Court. But the charges they faced could only be dealt with by magistrates, said Mr Justice Michael Stuart-Moore. 'There is no jurisdiction for a magistrate to transfer a summary offence on its own to the District Court,' the judge said. The ruling renders the District Court hearings null and void. It would be open to the prosecution to put the men on trial for the same offences before a magistrate. There are believed to be at least six similar appeals in the pipeline. The problem was spotted by the Department of Justice and brought to the attention of the Legal Aid Department. Darryl Saw SC, for the Government, told the court he agreed the charges had to be dealt with by magistrates. The law had been changed in 1995 to allow such cases to be dealt with by District Court judges. But this was not continued when new copyright laws were introduced in June 1997. Mr Saw said the intention of the new law must be that such cases be dealt with by magistrates because they were so prevalent. But he revealed that steps might be taken by the Department of Justice in an attempt to change the law again to enable complex cases involving the possession of pirated compact discs to be heard at the District Court. Mr Justice Stuart-Moore said the department had been right to bring the problem to the attention of the court. Tang Siu-kwong was jailed for 12 months in October in relation to 20,000 video compact discs and 5,508 audio compact discs. He was not due to be released until June. Mak Wai-hon was serving a nine-month sentence in relation to 22,000 video compact discs and 1,300 audio compact discs. Appeals against these convictions were allowed. Mak had another conviction, for which he was given 16 months' jail in February last year, which was allowed to stand because it had been brought under the pre-existing law, enabling it to be dealt with at the District Court.