Ex-leader C.Y. Leung to blame for policeman being hit by sandwich I threw, Hong Kong activist says after failing to halt assault trial
League of Social Democrats chief Avery Ng tells court former chief executive ducked instead of catching the snack
A democracy activist who threw a tuna sandwich in the direction of Leung Chun-ying blamed the former Hong Kong leader on Thursday for a nearby police officer being hit by the pungent snack.
The claim by Avery Ng Man-yuen came after the 40 year old failed to persuade a court to halt a common assault case against him over the incident on the grounds it was an unfair trial.
Ng surprised West Kowloon Court on Thursday by applying for a permanent stay of proceedings just before the relevant parties in the case were scheduled to deliver their closing submissions.
Ng, chairman of political party the League of Social Democrats, said he was being tried unfairly because Leung had refused to cooperate with his defence team before testifying last week.
Ng was tried on one count of common assault alleging he hurled a sandwich at police officer Lau Wing-kwan, who was accompanying Leung outside a polling station in Central during elections for Hong Kong’s legislature on September 4 last year.
The activist previously testified that Leung’s “very smug” expression had served as an invitation to “bring it on” and lob the sandwich, which he had expected Leung to catch. But the former leader ducked causing the snack to hit the officer behind him.
However, Leung subsequently testified that he had not seen Ng, nor had his facial expression or words acted as any consent to throw the sandwich at him.
“I was in a panic,” the former chief executive said when he testified as a defence witness.
Former leader CY Leung’s ‘smug’ face invited me to throw a tuna sandwich at him, says Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigner
On Thursday, Ng explained in his application that he had invited Leung to meetings before the trial to determine if he would be a reliable witness who could contribute to his defence case.
Yet Leung reportedly wrote back to say they could talk in court.
Ng said Leung had a history of lying and not telling the full truth but his defence team had to summon him to court because the prosecution did not do so despite him being an essential witness.
“Without the chance of assessing his credibility and understanding his account of events beforehand, I believe I could not have a fair trial,” Ng told the court.
But prosecutor Francis Yip Kim-ming pointed out that the application should have been made before Leung testified, and he accused the activist of only employing the tactic upon hearing unfavourable evidence.
“This is an abuse of process,” Yip said.
The application was eventually thrown out by acting principal magistrate So Wai-tak, who found the trial had been fair.
Yip invited the court to return a guilty verdict, saying Ng had made up stories about Leung’s facial expressions and had all along planned to throw the sandwich at the former leader.
Yip also said that even if Leung had displayed a provocative facial expression in their brief encounter, it did not mean he had given consent for a sandwich to be thrown at him.
But Ng insisted he genuinely believed Leung’s facial expression indicated consent.
He said he had calculated the distance between him and Leung, as well as their similar height, before throwing the sandwich, which eventually landed in front of Leung.
“The officer’s contact with the sandwich was the natural result of Leung ducking and walking faster without warning,” Ng said.
A verdict is scheduled for October 31.