Chen Guangcheng faces retrial; lawyers expect reduced term A court in Shandong has overturned a guilty verdict handed to blind activist Chen Guangcheng due to unlawful legal procedures, a move his defence lawyers said could lead to his release from jail. The Intermediate People's Court in Linyi has also ordered a retrial for Chen, who was sentenced in August by a lower court in Yinan to four years and three months in jail for damaging property and organising a mob to disrupt traffic. Li Subin , one of Chen's defence lawyers, quoted officials from the Linyi Intermediate Court as saying the decisions were made on Monday after the first trial was found to have violated lawful defence procedures. The first trial in the Yinan County Court was criticised because Chen, 34, was tried in the absence of three members of his defence team. He refused to be represented by two court-appointed lawyers. Chen's original lawyer, Xu Zhiyong , was prevented from representing him when he and two partners were detained over theft allegations on the eve of the trial. Another defence lawyer, Li Jinsong , hailed the retrial as a victory. He said from Beijing: 'This means the first decision was a mistake and was groundless. And it's testimony to what the local officials did to disrupt a fair trial for Chen Guangcheng.' Chen's lawyers had complained they were not able to gather evidence because they were barred from entering their client's village. A self-taught lawyer, who has been blind since childhood, Chen gained international fame after trying to bring a class-action lawsuit against Linyi officials for carrying out forced late-term abortions and sterilisations to meet birth-control quotas. After blowing the whistle last year, Chen was put under house arrest in August last year and officially arrested in June. His wife and mother were now under house arrest, Li Jinsong said. The lawyers said they were confident the second trial would see Chen's sentence reduced by at least four years by dropping the charge of organising a mob to disrupt traffic. 'We have enough evidence that Chen can be cleared of this accusation,' Li Jinsong said. Mainland legal professionals said appeal courts would throw out the first verdict when there was insufficient evidence and when they found serious faults in trial procedures. The Linyi Intermediate People's Court was not available for comment yesterday.