Barring any dramatic twists, the 'Cargate' saga which has enveloped former financial secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung since March looks close to ending. Not surprisingly, the government's long-awaited announcement on Monday as to whether or not it would prosecute Mr Leung for buying a Lexus car ahead of his proposal to raise vehicular taxes received extensive media coverage. But if radio phone-in programmes and newspapers are a mirror of the collective mind of society, the car-purchase scandal had already faded into the margins of public debate. Ordinary people have found electricity charges, the operation of West Rail, unemployment and a fresh Sars scare more relevant to their daily lives. The rhetorical heat over the decision at a Legislative Council panel meeting on Tuesday might suggest critics and sceptics are keen to keep the case on their political agendas. But there is very little legislators can do to change the 'no case' ruling. Striving desperately to distance his party from the government, a Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong legislator, Ip Kwok-him, talked tough and asked why the government had not taken the case to court to help allay the public's concerns. He should perhaps realise any government-bashing without solid ground can backfire. Superficially, there has been considerable support for prosecuting Mr Leung, as shown in polls conducted by some Chinese-language newspapers. But if the depth of public dismay over the government decision has not triggered massive political fallout, it is because most people are acutely aware of the paramount importance of upholding the fundamentals in handling the case. Just as they vehemently criticised Justice Secretary Elsie Leung Oi-sie for confusing rule of law with politics when deciding against taking Sally Aw Sian to court over newspaper circulation fraud, many people have been equally opposed to any politically motivated consideration of the Antony Leung case. Even if many remain unconvinced about the government's argument in law, they are largely satisfied the case has been handled with due process and with an exceptional degree of transparency, openness and appropriateness, and a sensitive touch. Media critics may be right to label journalists as bloodthirsty animals who would have found a trial of an ex-financial secretary a great story. At the end of the day, the media has been able to adopt a sensible, rational and unbiased approach to the government's decision on Mr Leung's car purchase. From the Sally Aw case to the Antony Leung purchase saga, the Justice Department has learned a lesson about the importance of justice being done and being seen to be done. For their part, the public have realised the stakes are high for those who flout the cardinal rules in law and principles in justice, regardless of their sympathy or cynicism towards the former financial secretary. The community at large will emerge as the winner in the Antony Leung saga for their principled support for the institutional strengths of rule of law in Hong Kong. For people who have been doubtful about the ability of Hong Kong people to talk reason in an emotive political environment, the public reaction to the 'no prosecution' ruling should provide food for thought for them to reflect on the intrinsic strengths and maturity of society. It has reflected badly, though, on the confused mindset of Mr Leung when he bought the luxurious car in January and later failed to declare his purchase, as some ministers did, at an Executive Council meeting in March. It also called into doubt the thinking of Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa when he sought to defuse the political storm by lending personal backing to the integrity of Mr Leung and lauding his move to stand down as an honourable act.