Greater rigour and discipline is needed to ensure that the malpractice that resulted in the collapse of the case is not repeated, Mr Justice Conrad Seagroatt warned. He said the duty of full disclosure of matters that may affect an expert witness' credibility and reputation not only fell on the prosecution, but on the witness. The judge said the perception of unfairness that resulted from the failure to disclose to defence lawyers or the court that expert witness Meocre Li had been the subject of an SFC disciplinary inquiry formed the basis of his decision. Mr Justice Seagroatt also dismissed the SFC's argument that it was not part of the fraud trial and had to abide by secrecy rules relating to its disciplinary inquiries. The judge instead classified the SFC as an 'indivisible entity' of the prosecution as it also held investigatory and disciplinary powers, and had played a significant part in the Allied Group saga. 'It may well be that implicit in my findings, is criticism of those involved in the prosecution [including] the 'indivisible entity' and a desire that the malpractice and distortion of the process should not be repeated,' he said. 'That desire may not be achieved unless greater rigour and discipline is applied.' Lee Ming Tee's defence lawyer Andrew Powner said yesterday's ruling set a benchmark for the handling of expert witnesses in criminal trials, which would mean more information about them would have to be made known in the future. 'He is demanding a much higher standard of disclosure to ensure fairness,' he said. Barrister Ronny Tong Ka-wah, SC, said while an expert's integrity was important, the system did not require vigorous changes. He did agree that it was incumbent upon the expert witness to disclose any involvement or dealing on his part which may bring his reputation into disrepute. Another top barrister Neville Sarony, SC, said there were already stringent rules for the prosecution to disclose material factors but added the system relied on the integrity of individuals to tell the truth. 'If the prosecution failed to do their homework properly, then there is nothing wrong with the system itself but the people who manipulate it.'