Judge in Hong Kong Obstruction Trial Refuses to Step Down Despite Apparent Bias

Presiding Judge Sustains Prosecution's Objection and Taunts Defense Lawyers in Court, Shouting, "Fight like a man."

HONG KONG, August 3, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Centre) -- Citing a clear bias towards the prosecution and "an apparent hostility" towards the defense, barrister Paul Harris officially requested the presiding magistrate to step down in the case involving 16 Falun Gong appellants arrested by police outside Hong Kong's Chinese Liaison Office.

The magistrate in question rejected Mr. Harris' request.

Below are three incidents that demonstrate a pattern of partiality on the part of the magistrate:

 

  • On July 17th, Associated Press quoted Harris saying to the magistrate: "Yesterday, you twice personally insulted me." In asking the magistrate to step down from this case Harris added, "Justice can no longer be seen to be done." Harris' request was denied and the magistrate continued to preside. "I've never, in 25 years of practice as barrister, had my integrity questioned," Harris continued, pointing out that the magistrate had insulted him by shouting "fight like a man." 
  • While defendant Erich Bachman from Switzerland was giving his testimony, the defense attorneys inquired as to why he had come to Hong Kong. After Bachman said that his reasons are clearly presented in a written statement, the defense asked him to read it. The prosecution objected, however, saying Bachman was "misusing the court" in order to make a political statement. The judge sustained the objection, disallowing Bachman to read the statement even though it had already been accepted as an official exhibit.
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    Background

     

    On March 14, 2001, four Falun Gong practitioners from Switzerland and 12 from Hong Kong held a peaceful sit-in appeal and hunger strike in front of the Chinese Liaison Office in Hong Kong in order to express disapproval of Chinese President Jiang Zemin's orders to shoot Falun Gong practitioners. Several hours into the appeal, at the request of the P.R.C's Liaison Office, Hong Kong policemen arrived at the site of the appeal, held a press conference and proceeded to violently take the 16 practitioners into custody. In a trial in which the police chose to charge the practitioners for allegedly obstructing the sidewalk, the defense counsel has cited "over policing" and "unprofessional behavior" by the Hong Kong police.