The trial of the primary individual charged beneath Hong Kong’s nationwide safety legislation is about to wrap up on Tuesday, with the defendant denied bail and a jury in a landmark case that critics say is a departure from widespread legislation.
Former waiter Tong Ying-kit, 24, has pleaded not responsible to fees of terrorism, inciting secession in addition to another cost of harmful driving inflicting grievous bodily hurt on July 1 final yr, shortly after the legislation was enacted.
Hong Kong’s widespread legislation has historically allowed defendants to hunt launch except prosecutors can present lawful grounds for his or her detention.
Beneath the brand new legislation, which some Western governments and rights teams say is getting used to crush dissent within the international monetary hub, the burden rests with the defendant to show they
won’t break the legislation if launched on bail.
The governments in Beijing and Hong Kong have stated repeatedly the brand new legislation was essential to deliver stability to the previous British colony after anti-government protests in 2019.
Tong’s trial is being presided over by three judges handpicked by Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing chief, Carrie Lam, to listen to nationwide safety instances: Esther Toh, Anthea Pang and Wilson Chan. There isn’t any jury.
Hong Kong’s Judiciary describes trial by jury as one of the vital vital options of the town’s authorized system, a common-law custom designed to supply defendants further safety
in opposition to authorities’ overreaching their energy.
Article 46 of the safety legislation – drafted by Beijing, the place courts are managed by the Communist Celebration and conviction charges are near 100% – states three situations through which juries may be scrapped: defending state secrets and techniques, instances involving international forces and defending jurors’ security.
Tong, the primary of greater than 120 individuals arrested beneath the safety legislation, is accused of driving his motorcycle into officers at a rally whereas carrying a flag with the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our instances”.
The interpretation of the protest slogan is a key aspect of the trial. The federal government has stated it suggests a name for independence, which might violate the safety legislation. Defence attorneys argue it’s a phrase with numerous meanings, together with the need for freedom and democracy.
Tong’s destiny may sign how the courts will deal with scores of different nationwide safety instances.