A magistrate has accused Geoffrey Ma Tao-li, chief justice of the Court of Final Appeal, of obstruction of justice and misconduct in public office, Ming Pao Daily reported Monday.
Symon Wong Yu-wing of Eastern Magistrates’ Courts claims two of his superiors and Ma set him up so that he was unable to proceed with a complaint against Deputy Judge Michael Stuart-Moore of the High Court.
Wong says Stuart-Moore rebuked him for “bringing disgrace to the judiciary” after he refused bail without giving a reason to a defendant in a drug case who had asked for time to get a lawyer.
In an expedited hearing that Stuart-Moore held to grant the defendant bail, the judge called it an abuse of power “to lock up an unrepresented defendant who was highly powerless to do anything”.
While Wong admitted he had made a mistake, he felt that Stuart-Moore’s public tongue-lashing hurt the magistrate’s integrity and credibility.
Later, Wong accepted a suggestion from his superior, principal magistrate Bernadette Woo Huey-fang, to sign a letter that would resolve the matter.
Woo told him the letter was drafted by someone who knew well how to settle things like this, Wong said.
At the time, Wong thought the letter he signed had been drafted by Ma and expected an internal investigation would clear his name.
But Woo told him later the letter was prepared under the instruction of Chief Magistrate Clement Lee Hing-nin.
And Wong discovered that the letter was considered to be an apology from him.
The letter led Ma to decide to drop the investigation.
Feeling he had been framed by Ma, Lee and Woo, Wong decided to press charges against all three.
Wong took his accusations to the police in February and gave an affidavit in April.
He is waiting for the Department of Justice to decide whether to prosecute the case.
Neither the police nor the department would comment on Wong’s claims.
Citing comments from legal experts, Ming Pao said Wong’s accusation against Ma is unlikely to be substantiated.
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