High Court orders retrial in case of couple accused of disturbance, despite acquittal in incident where a man was severely burned in Ma On Shan in 2019

A man was severely burned in 2019.

9th June 2023 – (Hong Kong) Lee, a construction worker, was attacked and severely burned while attempting to stop rioters from damaging MTR facilities in Ma On Shan on 11th November, 2019. On that day, a couple at the scene shouted vulgarities, but they were acquitted of the charge of disturbing public order after a trial. The Department of Justice appealed the ruling, which was heard by the High Court in mid-last month. Today (9th), the judge ruled that the case must be remitted to the original trial judge for reconsideration of whether the defendants are guilty based on the legal perspective instructed by Judge Cheung.

The appellants are the Department of Justice, while the defendants are Chan Hoi Wan, 33, and Kwong Yiu Man, 39, who were accused of making a disturbance in a public place on a pedestrian bridge connecting Ma On Shan Park and Ma On Shan Plaza.

The acting senior prosecutor for the Department of Justice, previously argued that the original judge did not consider whether a man named X, who was verbally abused by the defendants, would be provoked into physical violence, thus threatening public order. In addition, the original judge did not properly consider the social environment at the time of the incident, where X was “outnumbered and alone,” and was subjected to verbal abuse by 8 to 10 people with different political views. Therefore, X was likely to be attacked, but the judge only observed X’s body language, without making a judgment on whether he was objectively afraid of being attacked. The High Court thus remitted the case back to the original trial judge for a retrial.