A police inspector convicted of assaulting his lover had his name cleared yesterday after the top court found his excuse that he had been performing an exorcism was not totally incredible. Simon Lau Shing-chung, 45, was witnessed slapping the woman on January 4, 2012, according to the written judgment from the Court of Final Appeal. He then repeatedly pushed her up and down on the bed in her flat in Tai Po. Lau claimed his acts, however, had been lawful as he had consent from the victim - named only as Ms Yau - to use limited violence while attempting to rid her of a ghost. Lau was convicted of common assault and was fined HK$5,000 in Fanling Court in May last year. The magistrate found his explanation that his girlfriend was possessed to be an "invention" and refused to accept the phone messages as evidence. But in yesterday's judgment Mr Justice Frank Stock wrote: "[Lau]'s story about belief in ghosts and about attempts to assist Ms Yau when apparently possessed by them would be considered by many to be inherently incredible. "But in that setting, the account gains credence." He found old WhatsApp messages, dating back to May 2011 supported the claim. Yau once wrote: "When you push her, pay attention to me." Lau claimed he helped her to exorcise the ghost by treating her with a "mixed soft and hard approach" and she would become herself again. Yau did not testify in the trial, and the judgment said she could therefore not be questioned about the meaning of her text messages. The court heard Lau was a married man and was breaking up with Yau at that time. The written judgment states that Lau claimed Yau would become irascible and threatening and then speak to him as if she were another person. Stock, backed by Mr Justice Roberto Ribeiro, Mr Justice Robert Tang Ching, Mr Justice Joseph Fok and Lord Phillips, found the conviction unsafe and quashed his conviction and sentence.