The Department of Justice (DOJ) said its decision on whether to prosecute Occupy protesters accused of violating laws is based on evidence not only from the police but also from the defendants themselves, Ming Pao Daily reported on Friday.
Refuting accusations that the DOJ has flaws in its prosecution procedures, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung told the newspaper in an interview that it is impossible for the department and the police to collect all relevant evidence.
He stressed that defendants always have the right to submit their own evidence in court.
His remarks came after some of the defendants, who were charged with assaulting police officers during the pro-democracy Occupy protests last year, presented evidence, mainly video clips circulated online, to defend themselves.
The evidence prompted the DOJ to drop the charges.
Yuen said the department has never tried to shift its responsibility of gathering evidence to the police, who also face similar problems.
He also said it is not only Hong Kong where police are unable to gather every piece of information and evidence pertaining to a case.
Whenever new evidence is received, the DOJ always launches a review of the case before deciding whether to proceed with the prosecution, he said.
Reacting to Yuen’s remarks, veteran barrister Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, chairwoman of the Civic Party, said the fact that the police showed her multiple online footages and YouTube clips on the street protests when she was called to the police station earlier this year shows the police had been actively collecting evidence online.
The point is not about the volume of evidence that defendants can collect and present in court, but whether the police is telling the truth, she said.
Eu said police could save defendants a lot of trouble if they just told the truth.
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