Date
11 December 2017
Henry Litton (inset) says the petitioners sought an urgent hearing for injunction against the Mong Kok protesters but did not act immediately after it was granted. Photos: HKEJ, SocRec
Henry Litton (inset) says the petitioners sought an urgent hearing for injunction against the Mong Kok protesters but did not act immediately after it was granted. Photos: HKEJ, SocRec

Former top judge questions injunctions against protesters

A former Hong Kong top judge is questioning the handling of injunctions against protesters, calling it “extremely odd”.

Henry Litton, who served as a permanent judge on the Court of Final Appeal from 1997 to 2000, also criticized the justice department for inaction, Ming Pao Daily reported Thursday.

In a speech at the University of Hong Kong on Wednesday, Litton said the Oct. 20 ruling by the High Court in favor of a Mong Kok transport group did not mention how the plaintiffs would clear the protest site.

Also, the motion was heard with no respondent present which Litton said was “intriguing”.

He said he was “mystified” by the urgency of the petition and by the fact that the petitioners did not act immediately when it was granted.

The High Court renewed the injunction on Monday after the protesters refused to vacate the area.

Litton said the justice department should have enforced the injunction instead of bailiffs appointed by the High Court.    

Law professor Johannes Chan said ex parte injunctions, in which petitions are heard without all parties present, are justified only in emergencies.

He said it is doubtful the plaintiffs can afford to pay for the logistics required to carry out the order including the cost of mobilizing thousands of police officers.

Chan criticized the procedure as “completely wrong”.

Meanwhile, the High Court on Thursday denied an appeal by protesters against the injunction, according to public broadcaster RTHK.

Lawyers for the protesters argued the transport group failed to prove “particular, direct and substantial loss”.

In dismissing the appeal, the judge granted costs to the plaintiffs.

Phyllis Kwong, a lawyer for the taxi group, said her clients have yet to decide whether to take further action.

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TL/AC/RA

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