Magistrate tells the pair not to be 'picky' in choosing new defence lawyers The trial of a former high court judge and his wife accused of fraudulently claiming social welfare and public housing has to restart from scratch after one defence lawyer was fired and the other quit. The case against Miles Henry Jackson-Lipkin, 81, and Lucille Yun-shim Jackson-Lipkin, 80, was adjourned yesterday to May 29 to give them time to seek replacements from the government's legal aid scheme. But Chief Magistrate Patrick Li Hon-leung told the two not to be picky in choosing their new lawyers. 'I don't think the right of the two to choose counsel [from the duty lawyer services] is an absolute right,' Mr Li said in Kowloon City Court. 'Both of you have to take a pragmatic attitude to instruct your counsel concerned, as further adjournment would be unlikely.' Last week, Mrs Jackson-Lipkin fired her lawyer, Andrew Bullet, and chose to represent herself after her application to stop the prosecution on the grounds of her mental condition was rejected. But yesterday the former barrister sought an adjournment to find a new lawyer, saying she still had not been taken through the prosecution case and the prosecution documents had never been discussed with her. 'The liberty of the subject is more important than the convenience of the prosecution,' she said. 'I do need some professional advice.' Mr Li granted the application, saying legal advice would be beneficial to all parties. This prompted her husband's lawyer, Gerard McCoy SC, to withdraw on the grounds of a conflicting schedule. Mr Li said he believed Mrs Jackson-Lipkin was insisting on choosing top senior counsel to represent her. 'I am sure there are many other experienced junior counsels in Hong Kong [to take this case],' he said. The ex-judge's wife, who was initially represented by former attorney-general John Griffiths SC, said she did not choose the top lawyers - they came to her. The couple was charged last October for failing to disclose all of their personal assets in a social welfare application in September 2003. They were also accused of attempting to make false representation in applying for medical appliances in March 2004 and making false representation in applying for public housing in February 2004. Prosecutor Kevin Zervos SC opposed the adjournment, saying it would waste further time, money and effort. 'There has been enough stop-start in the case,' he said. 'The prosecution thinks that enough is enough.' He said the prosecution was 'an overwhelming case with straightforward documentary evidence'. It would be based on documents related to local and overseas bank accounts, shareholdings, a property in Canada and three witnesses who dealt with their welfare applications. Mrs Jackson-Lipkin wrote to the court yesterday saying she wanted to 'mention a semantic correction' to Mr Li's ruling last Thursday. She said the application for a stay was not her idea but that of her lawyer, who made it on the grounds that he could not get sensible instructions from her.