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Hong Kong court allows activists to appeal unauthorized assembly convictions

by Derek Andrews
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The Hong Kong Court docket of Attraction on Friday granted seven activists a certificates to enchantment in opposition to their conviction of participating in an unauthorized meeting. On the identical time, the courtroom dismissed the federal government’s enchantment to the Appellate Court docket’s overturn of convictions of organizing an unauthorised meeting.

Making use of to enchantment their convictions, the activists contended that the courtroom ought to assess operational proportionality in figuring out whether or not to convict a defendant of participating in an unauthorized meeting. In different phrases, if the courtroom finds that public officers disproportionately interfered with the defendants’ freedom to meeting, it would quantity to the statutory defence of a lawful excuse. The activists additionally sought to argue that delayed enforcement on the time of the offence quantities to operational disproportionality. The UK Supreme Court docket accepted the operational proportionality evaluation again in 2021 when the courtroom was dealing with protests in opposition to arms commerce in 2017. The UK Supreme Court docket agreed that the evaluation is related to the protections of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceable meeting offered by the European Conference on Human Rights. The courtroom accepted that it is a level of regulation of nice and common public significance that warrants the Court docket of Last Attraction to resolve on.

In the meantime, the courtroom dismissed the federal government’s enchantment in opposition to the courtroom’s determination to overturn the activists’ convictions. The federal government sought to problem the courtroom’s building of “organising”. The courtroom dismissed the federal government’s enchantment, holding that the federal government sought to problem the factual findings of decrease courts with out declaring how the courtroom departed from identified authorities in developing the notion of “organising”.

The case involved the protest that occurred in August 2019. The Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) utilized to organise a procession in opposition to police brutality. The police refused the appliance however permitted an meeting in a set location. In response, CHRF proposed a “water circulate” meeting and referred to as upon protesters to overcrowd the situation and roads close by to attain a development. The courtroom later found this “water circulate” defence was a ruse to get across the ban and thereby convicted the activists. The activists embrace Jimmy Lai, Leung Kwok Hung, a defendant within the Hong Kong 47 case, and Lee Chu Ming Martin and Ho Chun-yan, former chairpersons of the Democratic Social gathering.

Source / Picture: jurist.org

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