Retired Hong Kong coach accused of indecently assaulting student eight years ago makes first court appearance
Defence requests more time for research and paperwork as alleged incident occurred long ago
A retired Hong Kong coach accused of indecently assaulting his student eight years ago made his first court appearance on Friday.
The 77-year-old man, identified only as “W.H.” in court documents, was charged with one count of indecent assault, an offence punishable by 10 years in prison.
The defendant was accused of molesting an individual in Tai Po between September 1, 2009 and April 8, 2010. The student was not named to protect her identity.
On Friday, W.H. appeared nervous, fidgeting while standing before Principal Magistrate Ernest Lin Kam-hung in Fanling Court. The bespectacled defendant nodded and indicated that he understood the charges against him, when asked.
Behind him were a handful of friends and family members who watched intently as a court interpreter read out the allegations.
Prosecutors said they were ready for plea to be taken.
But defence counsel Fu Chong-sang asked for more time, explaining that further research and paperwork were needed since the alleged incident happened long ago.
W.H. was released on HK$5,000 bail with no objection from the prosecution, on the condition that he remain in Hong Kong and stay at his reported address.
He was reminded not to contact any witnesses, whether directly or indirectly.
Under the Crimes Ordinance, media outlets are prohibited from publishing and broadcasting any matter “likely to lead members of the public to identify any person as the complainant in relation to that allegation”.
When asked what was the legal basis for granting the defendant anonymity in the present case, a spokesman for the Department of Justice said: “The prosecution opines that disclosing the defendant’s name will indirectly disclose the victim’s identity, and hence has anonymised the defendant.”
The case will return to the same court on June 15.