A database should be established to record police officers found to have given false testimonies in court against pro-democracy protesters in last year’s Occupy campaign, a legal expert said.
Such a directory can be used by the police department for internal review and to make improvements in its operations and systems, said Eric Cheung Tat-ming, a former member of the Independent Police Complaints Council who teaches law at the University of Hong Kong.
Cheung made the suggestion after police revealed that only 209 or 22 percent of the 955 protesters arrested during the Umbrella Movement have been prosecuted as of July, Ming Pao Daily reported.
Also, 40 of the 140 cases in which a verdict was delivered ended up with the charges dismissed or the defendants exonerated, the report said.
An analysis done by Ming Pao showed that at least nine of the 40 cases gained a ruling favorable to the defendants after they took the initiative of providing the court with crucial video footages taken during the incidents in which they were accused of violating the law.
The video clips seen by the judges were used as evidence to disprove or render questionable the testimonies made by police officers.
Cheung said the fact that defendants had to provide their own evidence to prove their innocence shows that there are defects in the current system.
He called on Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung to acknowledge that his men gave false or defective testimonies and deal with them accordingly.
Otherwise, the public might lose faith in the police force, Cheung said.
Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, a spokesperson for the lawyers who are providing pro bono services to the defendants, said it is a worrisome development that defendants have to bear burden of proof.
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