Hong Kong protester’s injury does not match policeman’s baton strike, doctor testifies at assault trial
The doctor who treated the victim two days after the assault says the horizontal nature of the injury did not match the vertical strike
A doctor who examined a man hit by a police baton during Hong Kong’s 2014 Occupy protests told a court on Wednesday that his patient’s horizontal neck injury did not exactly match the officer’s vertical strike.
Dr Alfred Yuen Hui-chiu gave his testimony after prosecutor Daniel Marash SC showed him a video of Frankly Chu, 57, hitting Osman Cheng Chung-hang, 28, with a baton in the city’s popular shopping district during demonstrations over 79 days that called for greater democracy.
Chu, a retired superintendent, has pleaded not guilty to one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, alleging that he assaulted Cheng in Mong Kok on November 26, 2014.
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His counsel Peter Pannu argued that the prosecution’s evidence was inconsistent and tenuous.
On the third day of the trial, Eastern Court heard Cheng went to Sha Tin Wai Integrated Medical Centre two days after the alleged assault because he was in pain and that his neck had stiffened after the baton struck him at “medium to hard force”.
Dr Yuen said he found Cheng in overall good health, except for three injuries: a slight bruise below his right elbow, a 4cm horizontal swelling near his neckline on the left side of his neck and a scratch on his right shin.
When asked if the neck wound was consistent with what was shown on the video, Dr Yuen replied: “I think that the position of that injury ... does not exactly match the position of the spot I observed on him.
“Because when that person hit him, the movement was like this,” Dr Yuen testified as he moved his arm in a downward motion with the same baton used on that November night.
“The injury was like this,” he continued, his hand drawing a horizontal line in the air.
The doctor also said the injury seem superficial compared to the hit so he was “not sure” if it was caused by that baton.
But he agreed with the prosecutor that it was difficult to see where the blow had landed as Cheng’s neck had been partly covered by a jumper.
During cross examination, Dr Yuen said that Cheng did not show signs of feeling unwell or that he was in pain.
“When you examined Cheng’s neck movement and you moved his neck ... you confirmed his neck movement was normal and Cheng did not complain of any pain ... is that correct?” defence lawyer Peter Pannu, said.
The witness agreed.
“Whether or not he felt pain himself I do not know, but he did not express that to me,” Dr Yuen said. “The entire consultation lasted for only 10 minutes.”
But the court heard the doctor had advised Cheng to go the accident and emergency department for follow-up checks, which Cheng did not do.
“If someone used hard force,” Pannu started, his sentence interrupted by a loud pop when he hit his documents with the baton.
The noise alarmed Principal Magistrate Bina Chainrai, who immediately said: “Counsel I don’t think that was necessary.”
“Sorry,” Pannu continued. “If someone used medium to hard force, that could result in serious injury.” The witness agreed.
But Chainrai questioned: “Cheng came to you two days later, would that have been enough time for Cheng’s injury to heal for some extent?”
“If it was just a minor redness and swelling then generally there would be such a possibility,” Dr Yuen replied. “However if it was a trauma caused by medium to hard force, then no.”
The trial continues.