A High Court judge overseeing the bribery trial of former Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has dismissed the jury after it failed to reach a verdict on Friday despite 14 hours of deliberations.
The eight jurors sent a note to the judge before 5 pm that they are unable to come up with a 6-2 or better majority verdict, and that further discussions would not change the situation.
This prompted Justice Andrew Chan, the presiding High Court judge, to discharge the jury, which comprised four men and four women, RTHK reports.
The judge said he was aware that it had been “a tough duty” for the jurors, who had been discussing the matter since Thursday afternoon and stayed overnight at the High Court.
As the jurors made it clear that they wouldn’t be able to arrive at a verdict, Chan decided to discharge them.
Noting that they had fulfilled their duty conscientiously, Chan thanked the jurors “on behalf of the judiciary and also on behalf of the people of Hong Kong.”
The court will discuss what happens next on Monday.
Tsang, who was in court, appeared calm as the jury was discharged.
The jurors returned a split verdict on Friday morning, but the judge said it was too early at that point for them to throw in the towel and asked them to deliberate further.
Tsang had been charged with the crime of “chief executive accepting an advantage”, violating section 4 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.
The charges concerned free renovations of a penthouse in Shenzhen between 2010 and 2012. Tsang was the chief executive and chairman of the Executive Council at the time.
According to the prosecution, the advantage in question was HK$3 million renovations for the penthouse, where Tsang stayed briefly after leaving office.
The property is owned by Bill Wong Cho-bau, who is the majority shareholder of Wave Media, which received a digital radio license.
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