Legco to grill A-G over 'no evidence'
THE Attorney-General's discretionary powers in criminal cases will be called into question this week by legislative councillors in the aftermath of the Ann Wilkinson case.
The legislators will grill the Legal Department head, Jeremy Mathews, on the case in which no evidence was offered against Cathay Pacific pilot Ian Wilkinson when he appeared in court on a charge of attacking his wife.
Mrs Wilkinson had accused her husband of seriously wounding her with a knife. But at the hearing at Fanling magistrates' court on March 18, the prosecution offered no evidence and Mr Wilkinson was bound over to keep the peace.
Both Mr Mathews and the Director of Public Prosecutions, John Wood, have refused to give the reasons for the change in proceedings.
Police and legal experts say it is highly irregular for such a severe charge, which carries a three-year jail term, to be reduced to a ''bind-over''.
Legislative Councillor Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee will raise the issue during question time on Wednesday. She expects Mr Mathews to explain what discretion - both on an individual and policy level - he used to assess the case.
''This case has been in the public eye and questions have been raised as to why charges were laid and the defendant brought to court, and he was only bound over,'' Mrs Chow said yesterday.
''It is extremely important that the public is informed that such cases are properly dealt with and culprits are not allowed to go free.'' Independent legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing said the whole episode was quite ''bizarre'' and she would ask additional questions in the hope of finding out the background to the case.