IN the past the Legislative Council has been in the right in the controversy over the long delay in consideration of the Organised and Serious Crime Bill. The bill, which would give the police extensive powers to compel witnesses, victims and accomplices to provide information, has been before the legislators for 21/2 years. In any society, such an extension of police powers would deserve detailed consideration; in Hong Kong's special circumstances - with 1997 approaching and concern over possible conflicts with the Bill of Rights - the law's delay is particularly understandable. However, delay through caution is one thing, delay through carelessness another. On Monday, when an ad hoc Legco committee was scheduled to discuss witness protection and the draft bill's planned code of practice, only four of the committee's 21 members bothered to show up. Convenor Phillip Wong Yu-hong was there, along with Elsie Tu, Emily Lau Wai-hing and Simon Ip Sik-on. But the quorum of six was not reached, and those committee members who attended, along with eight government officials, wasted their time. It is no mystery where some of the missing committee members were. A photograph in Tuesday's South China Morning Post showed three of them - Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee, Howard Young and Ronald Arculli - at the Liberal Party headquarters celebrating the group's first anniversary. Neither were Liberal Party members the only absentees: United Democrats leader Martin Lee Chu-ming was also missing. Attempts to contact them for an explanation were unsuccessful. But they should remember that while the public wants greater accountability of the part of the Government, they equally expect a greater degree of responsibility from legislators. Monday's meeting was postponed for a week. Let's hope the committee members do not have any parties planned for next Monday.