Sexual harassment and assault

‘No similar complaints’ at other schools about Hong Kong coach accused of indecent assault, court hears

Defence asks why prosecutors refused to include this finding in agreed facts of case

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 August, 2018, 1:38pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 August, 2018, 10:51pm

Headmasters and teachers interviewed about a Hong Kong coach accused of indecently assaulting his student eight years ago told prosecutors they had not received similar complaints about him, a court heard on Thursday.

This was revealed by defence counsel Fu Chong-sang as he asked why prosecutors had refused to include this in the agreed facts of the case to narrow down disputes at trial.

The prosecution replied that the finding was inadmissible because it was irrelevant to the case.

How is the propensity to commit the crime irrelevant?
Principal Magistrate Ernest Lin

Principal Magistrate Ernest Lin Kam-hung however sided with the defence, pointing out that the defence might then have to summon all the interviewed headmasters and teachers.

“How is the propensity to commit the crime irrelevant?” Lin asked. “There were no similar complaints in other schools. I can’t see why that can’t be agreed.”

But he added that there being no past complaints did not imply the defendant did not commit the deed in question and said the final decision on whether to include the finding rested with the prosecution.

The 77-year-old coach, identified only as W.H. in court to protect the alleged victim’s identity, has pleaded not guilty to one count of indecent assault, an offence punishable by 10 years’ imprisonment.

He was accused of molesting an individual, who was not named, in Tai Po on a date between September 1, 2009 and April 8, 2010.

Coach accused of indecently assaulting student makes first court appearance

The trial has been set for two days beginning from September 26. Prosecutors will summon three witnesses: the alleged victim, her friend and a secondary school teacher.

They are also expected to apply for the alleged victim to testify via television link or behind a screen, although Fu said he would object to the use of televised testimony.

Under the Criminal Procedure Ordinance, the court may, on application or on its own motion, permit a witness in fear to give evidence by way of a live television link.