Diocese named in victim's civil claim Two of the city's top Catholic officials are among the witnesses expected to testify at the civil trial of a disgraced priest jailed for sexually abusing an altar boy, a court heard yesterday. Barristers told Mr Justice John Saunders that Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun and Vicar General Dominic Chan Chi-ming were likely to speak on behalf of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong at the high-profile trial next month. Medical experts are also scheduled to testify for the victim of Michael Lau Ka-yee, the first priest in Hong Kong to be jailed in a sex-abuse case. Mr Lau was sentenced to 41/2 years behind bars in February 2003 after he was found guilty of two charges of indecent assault, one charge of gross indecency and another of attempted buggery. He has since been released. The victim - known only as 'H' - later sued the former priest in a personal-injury case, which claimed his mental illness was exacerbated by Mr Lau's repeated abuse in the early 1990s. The diocese is named in the victim's claim, which alleges that the church breached its duty of care by not protecting the boy, then 15. The church was negligent in failing to notify police when allegations against one of its employees surfaced, the claim says. The Catholic Diocese lost a bid to strike down the claim on the basis that it came too late and that the church's liability did not extend to the assaults. Two years ago, Cardinal Zen said the church would step up efforts to protect children under its care. 'It is a matter of course that children's welfare is of top priority. The diocese is taking a very prudent approach over this,' he was quoted as saying in 2006. Both medical experts will deal with the question of whether the victim's schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder can be linked directly to the abuse, and whether that limited his future earning potential. H was diagnosed with mental illness within a year of being abused by Mr Lau in 1991 and 1992. Mr Lau, who later became an insurance agent, was a deacon in charge of altar boys at St Joseph's Catholic Church in Ngau Tau Kok. Also yesterday, Mr Justice Saunders ruled that the victim could testify from behind a screen to protect his privacy and avoid exacerbating his mental illness.