AN attempt by a youth to hide behind the Bill of Rights to avoid facing a charge of having sex with a girl under 16 by claiming he did not know her age failed in San Po Kong Court. The offence of unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 16 has always been regarded as one of strict liability, in the sense that the Crown does not have to prove that the defendant knew the victim was, in fact, under 16. In a rare challenge the defence submitted that the Bill of Rights provides that everyone charged with a criminal offence shall have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law. Senior Assistant Crown Prosecutor Stephen Wong submitted that the Bill of Rights does not create new rights, but guarantees the rights originating from the Magna Carta. In rejecting the defence argument, Magistrate Judianna Barnes said: ''In my view, what the defence asks me to do is to redraft the legislation, which is not permissible.'' After the ruling, Chong Ka-man, 20, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of indecent assault. He also admitted possession of Part 1 poison - 10 sleeping pills. He was fined a total of $3,500. Defence counsel Jonathan Midgley said Chong was now married with a baby. He helped his father in the garment business. On the evening of May 29 this year, the victim, aged 15, was invited by a friend to go to the Hollywood karaoke bar in Ngau Tau Kok with Chong and another friend. They sang and drank beer, and then Chong and the girl took pep pills. They became incoherent and left the lounge soon after. The victim, who was drunk, was taken to a flat by Chong. Her skirt and panties were removed and she was indecently assaulted. Chong was arrested two days later.