Former TVB general manager Stephen Chan has been cleared of corruption by Hong Kong’s top court, ending a legal battle that began more than seven years ago, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
In a unanimous decision on Tuesday, five judges on the Court of Final Appeal overturned convictions in 2015 by an appeal court against Chan and his former assistant, Edthancy Tseng, and acquitted them of the same charge.
They said there is no evidence that Chan tried to influence TVB’s business in any way and it was admissible that Chan sincerely believed TVB did not object to him accepting payment from contractors.
Chan, who is now the chief adviser to Commercial Radio Hong Kong, said outside the court house after the ruling that he is grateful for she support and encouragement of people around him.
“Only an independent judicial system free from intervention could ensure that what is true can never be false, and what is false can never be true,” he said.
The case stemmed from TVB’s Be My Guest Show which aired a 2009 New Year countdown special from Olympian City mall.
Both Chan and Tseng were accused of accepting bribes in exchange for production contracts.
They were arrested that year by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Hong Kong’s anti-graft agency, on charges they accepted HK$112,000 (US$14,420) in kickbacks from contractors without the knowledge of their employer.
The two were cleared by a district judge in 2011 after they argued their involvement in the activity in question had nothing to do with TVB’s business, but the Department of Justice (DOJ) appealed in 2012.
The same judge acquitted them again in 2013, with the DOJ filing a second appeal immediately afterwards.
In October 2015, an appeal court ruled that the duo were guilty of taking bribes and fined Chan and Tseng HK$84,000 and HK$28,000, respectively, before they appealed their case to the Court of Final Appeal.
The judges said on Tuesday that the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance can be applicable to the case, adding that Chan should not be labeled as a criminal due to the fact Chan’s behavior did not cause any loss to TVB but benefited it instead.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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