The highest court will examine whether benchmarks used to prosecute and sentence murderers contravene the Basic Law and the Bill of Rights Ordinance. In granting convicted murderers Lau Cheong, 29, and Lau Wong, 31, certificates to take their case to the Court of Final Appeal yesterday, Mr Justice Michael Stuart-Moore said the arguments involved were of great and general importance. John Mullick, counsel for Lau Cheong, and John Haynes, for Lau Wong, argued in the Court of Appeal yesterday that the mandatory life sentence imposed on a convicted murderer contravened the Basic Law and the Bill of Rights Ordinance. The same was also true, they argued, of the benchmark for a murder conviction. At present, a person can be convicted of murder even if it is proven he or she only intended to cause grievous bodily harm. The articles and sections the lawyers cited seek to safeguard the rights and freedoms of residents from restrictions imposed by law. Mr Justice Stuart-Moore agreed with them that the Court of Final Appeal should hear the arguments raised in their submissions. The top court will consider whether a person convicted of murder under the Criminal Procedures Ordinance has a right to appeal against their sentence under the Basic Law and the Bill of Rights. Defendants convicted of murder in the Court of First Instance are automatically jailed for life. Lau Wong will also be able to fight his murder conviction after Mr Haynes argued it was a breach of the Bill of Rights Ordinance to convict a second party of murder if they participated in the act that caused the death of the victim but did not intend to kill. The two were jailed for life in December 1998 after being found guilty of murdering air-conditioning technician Kei Wai-heung, 46.