Nathan Law’s High Court writ just a push for publicity
With no policy platforms other than anti-government and anti-Beijing rhetoric, what better way for localist and independence-seeking candidates to attract attention than another judicial review
Retired Court of Final Appeal judge Henry Litton warned against the abuse of judicial reviews late last year. Sure enough, our student leaders are doubling down on the judicial abuse.
Having been spared jail over the storming of the government headquarters in 2014, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, of the Demosisto political party and legislator-wannabe, has filed a High Court writ against the police. The writ claims the police undermined his right to stage a demonstration by restricting his movements through the setting up of security zones during a visit by state leader Zhang Dejiang in May.
Notice no one stopped Law or his friends from protesting; he was just unhappy they couldn’t rally where and when as they pleased.
Hopefully, the court will just throw out the frivolous application. Law, along with former Occupy student leaders Joshua Wong Chi-fung and Alex Chow Yong-kang, were convicted of unlawful assembly and incitement for their roles in storming the government HQ in Admiralty but were spared jail.
Law obviously felt no remorse for his crime or appreciation of the judge’s leniency. Instead, all these court proceedings, whether against him or instigated by him, are just so much publicity for the 23-year-old to exploit to his advantage.
He is among 15 candidates vying for six Hong Kong Island Legislative Council seats in next month’s elections.
With no policy platforms other than their anti-government and anti-Beijing rhetoric, these localist and independence-seeking candidates rely on publicity and sloganeering.
And what better way to attract attention than filing another judicial review? Law claimed his constitutional rights to free expression, peaceful assembly and demonstration were unjustifiably restricted because he could no demonstrate meaningfully in areas designated by police.
All this from a man who has just been convicted of staging an unlawful assembly. I know of no country or city where protesters can rally where and when they want during the visit of an outside dignitary.
In December, Litton sharply criticised how judicial reviews had been misused and abused to serve political ends. He was pessimistic that proposed reforms to improve efficiency in the legal system and reduce unnecessary litigations would be effective.
With localists like Law, Litton unfortunately will be proved right time and again.