Former legislator Gary Cheng Kai-nam yesterday failed in his third attempt to reschedule his fraud trial before a bilingual judge as a court ruled he had no constitutional right to choose the category of judge who would hear his case. Mr Justice Michael Hartmann of the Court of First Instance gave his ruling shortly before Cheng's case was due to start in the District Court. He said in the written judgment that Hong Kong's domestic legislation only guaranteed a person's constitutional right to use either English or Chinese - the two official languages in the SAR - in trial, but not to choose a judge who spoke the language that an applicant preferred. 'In my judgment, the constitutional right of a person to use the Chinese language in a court of law in Hong Kong means no more than the right of that person to employ that language, that is to utilise it, for the purpose of forwarding or protecting his interests,' he said. 'That right to employ or utilise the language does not imply a reciprocal obligation on the part of the court to speak and read that language.' He noted the Basic Law allowed the recruitment of judges from other common law jurisdictions and did not suggest they should speak a Chinese tongue. Cheng, 51, faces five charges: misconduct in public office, accepting an advantage as a Legislative Council member, false accounting and two counts of theft, allegedly committed between November 1999 and April last year. No pleas have been entered. In the District Court yesterday, his barrister, Kevin Egan, asked for the case to be adjourned until tomorrow as the defence needed time to study Mr Justice Hartmann's judgment and might make further applications. Cheng, former vice-chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, also failed to have his trial set before a bilingual judge on October 26 and November 29. The applications were refused by Judge Barnabas Fung Wah in the District Court. An urgent application was made before Mr Justice Hartmann last Friday to seek leave to judicially review Judge Fung's decisions. Cheng's lawyer, Martin Lee Chu-ming, SC, has said Cheng wanted his testimony to be considered by a judge who spoke Cantonese and not by one who had to receive his evidence through an interpreter. Bar Association chairman Alan Leong Kah-kit, SC, said yesterday he disagreed with Mr Lee's argument that a Chinese judge would be in a better position to assess the credibility of a witness who chose to testify in Cantonese, and to observe their demeanour.