2 March 2016
A 71-year-old man accused of attacking a student activist during the Occupy Movement in 2014, walked free on Tuesday after the High Court overturned his earlier conviction, Apple Daily reports.
Man Ho-chun received free legal assistance from the Department of Law of the University of Hong Kong, where the pro-democracy protests to which he was opposed ironically started.
Man had been charged with common assault after he allegedly attacked the 19-year-old student, surnamed Chan, forcibly removing his yellow ribbon – a symbol of the protest movement – and stabbing his neck with his fingers outside the Bank of China Tower in Admiralty on Oct. 13, 2014.
Last year a magistrates’ court found him guilty and sentenced him to seven days in jail, although he was granted bail.
Refusing to accept the ruling, Man decided to appeal and asked for help from the HKU Law Department under its free legal advice scheme.
He was introduced to Eric Cheung Tat-ming, principal lecturer at the department, who promised to assist him in filing an appeal before the High Court free of charge.
At the hearing, Cheung told Judge Mrs. Justice Judianna Barnes that the lower court failed to take into consideration Man’s testimony as well as the time, place and other facts of the case, Ming Pao Daily reports.
Cheung noted that the student did not report the case to the police, athough he claimed the injury was serious and troubled him for days.
He also said the plaintiff used as evidence a picture purportedly showing Man attacking the teenager, but did not present any witness to attest to the photo’s authenticity.
The judge agreed that the student did not report to the police immediately after the alleged attack and the authenticity of the online photos provided by Chan had never been verified, thus rendering the previous ruling questionable.
The judge then overturned the earlier decision and said Man could get a refund of the litigation fee. Man thanked Cheung for helping him clear his name.
Cheung said HKU’s free legal advice scheme is available for all people regardless of their political persuasion or religious belief. The HKU Clinical Legal Education Progamme was awarded the Faculty Knowledge Exchange Award 2015.