The Court of Appeal has dismissed a magazine's application to take its case to the city's highest court after it was censured for publishing semi-nude photographs of an apparently kidnapped actress. The court did not ask to hear from lawyers for the city's decency watchdog before rejecting the application for Three Weekly to seek a ruling from the Court of Final Appeal over the classification as obscene of an article in its November 2, 2003, edition. The Court of Appeal ruled on May 31 that the Obscene Articles Tribunal acted properly in classifying the photographs as obscene and upheld a previous ruling against the now-defunct Chinese-language magazine. Po Wing-kay, counsel for the magazine, challenged the court's ruling on three fronts: that it was wrong to suggest the invasion of someone's privacy should be a factor considered by the tribunal; that the tribunal should have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that something was obscene; and that clarification was needed as to when an error by the tribunal could nullify its findings. 'It is our submission that invasion of privacy is never a relevant fact,' Ms Po said. 'If someone asks the tribunal to look at these [sorts of facts], they are asking it to look into content ... and that is a slippery slope towards press censorship.' She rejected the court's suggestion that whether privacy was a factor was entirely an issue of context. Mr Justice Frank Stock observed that if someone were to take and publish a photo of him boiling an egg in his kitchen, for example, it was unlikely that it could be called obscene, although it was an invasion of privacy. However, he said, the same could not be said of publishing a photo taken of a semi-naked woman who was ostensibly being abused at the moment the photo was taken. Mr Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li, chief judge of the High Court, said: 'If you see a woman being abused ... and her dignity is further abused [by taking a series of photographs] then that is surely part of the obscenity'. The court dismissed the application and ordered the magazine to pay costs. The photo, which had earlier appeared in Eastweek magazine, was widely believed to be of Carina Lau Ka-ling and was allegedly taken when she was abducted by gangsters 14 years ago. The publication caused a public outcry, and the commissioner for the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority asked the tribunal to examine the article. It was deemed 'obscene [and] not suitable to be published to any person'. A magistrate upheld the ruling and dismissed the magazine's application for a judicial review in June last year.