A magistrate damaged a Cathay Pacific flight attendant's case by hinting that he would clear her of accepting advantages but then finding her guilty, the Court of First Instance heard yesterday. Kevin Egan, for Carmen Yeoh Kar Miin, 25, said he was amazed when the magistrate delivered guilty verdicts on January 14 this year on three charges relating to the sale of discounted air tickets. Appealing against Yeoh's conviction, Mr Egan said: 'What happened, for reasons we are not privy to, is that some time between December 29 last year, and January 14 this year, [the magistrate] changed his mind.' Yeoh was sentenced at Eastern Court to three months in jail, but is on bail pending the appeal outcome. Mr Egan said he had made powerful submissions on December 29 last year that she had no case to answer. Comments made by Magistrate Lambert Lee Ka-chai convinced him that his client would be found not guilty, the barrister said. Although the magistrate had not stated he would be returning not-guilty verdicts, he had given a clear indication, Mr Egan said. He had regarded it as 'a clincher' when the magistrate decided to adjourn the case until 9.30am on January 14, he said, arguing that Mr Lee knew he (Mr Egan) would have to be in a different court at 10am that day. This would only allow 10 to 15 minutes for the hearing, not long enough for a guilty verdict to be returned and for lengthy mitigation before sentencing. Mr Egan said he had understood the magistrate's attitude to be: 'It will only take me 10 minutes to get rid of this load of rubbish.' In the event, when guilty verdicts were returned, sentencing had to be postponed. Mr Egan said he would have called Yeoh as a defence witness had he not been given the indication at the end of the prosecution case that she was going to be cleared. He added that the case against her had been hopelessly investigated and presented. From December 1998 to January 1999, Yeoh accepted a total of $5,980 from handbag buyer Lau Yuen-tat, 38, for issuing cut-price Cathay tickets for his business partner, Man Kin-wing, 31. Selling such tickets for profit or advantage was banned by the airline in June 1998, but Mr Egan said that a Cathay manager had admitted at Yeoh's trial that before then the practice had been a 'grey area'. He argued that tickets were valid for six months and that the prosecution had failed to show that the money paid to Yeoh definitely related to tickets issued after June 1998, in which case she must be found not guilty. The appeal before Deputy Judge Louis Tong Po-sun continues.