A court has found a retired senior police officer guilty of attacking an innocent pedestrian during the pro-democracy Occupy protests in 2014, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The ruling by an Eastern Magistrates’ Court on Monday suggests that Frankly Chu King-wai, 57, former superintendent and commander of the Sha Tin Division, may receive a jail sentence, which is scheduled to be announced on Dec. 29.
Chu, who retired on July 23, 2015, has been accused of attacking a pedestrian at the height of the street protests in Mong Kok three years ago.
In November 2014, Osman Cheng Chung-han filed a complaint with the Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO), saying he was beaten by Chu on Nov. 26 when he just tried to walk across Nathan Road with a female friend.
The case had dragged on since until Chu was charged with “assault occasioning actual bodily harm” in March this year.
Announcing her verdict, Principal Magistrate Bina Chainrai said that in the video clips presented to the court as evidence, she did not see Cheng perform any hostile or aggressive act when he passed by Chu and that he only followed police orders to leave the scene.
As such, there was no reason for police officers to use force on Cheng, the magistrate said.
Barrister Peter Pannu, who acted as defense lawyer, said Chu truly believed at that time that using force was a must to make the crowd obey police instructions. But the magistrate said Cheng had already obeyed the police’s order, so there was no need to use force on him.
As for Chu’s claim that the crowd was in a state of “active aggression” when the incident happened, and that using the baton was the only effective means, the magistrate said she could not accept such a defense since the clips show clearly that the crowd was already leaving the scene and Cheng did not refuse to leave as the defendant alleged.
She also found Chu’s testimony inadmissible that Cheng had tried to provoke police officers, and that he only patted Cheng with his baton up to a certain point and then stopped since Cheng was indeed injured by Chu’s action.
Seeking court leniency, the defense lawyer said Chu, who remained calm after being convicted, only made a technical mistake and therefore the case should not be treated as the one in which seven cops were convicted, and asked the court to grant him bail.
The magistrate denied the request on the ground that what Chu did was serious. She ordered him to be remanded in custody immediately pending the announcement of his sentence.
Under Offenses against the Person Ordinance, any person who is convicted of an assault occasioning actual bodily harm shall be liable to imprisonment for three years.
Pannu confirmed that Chu will appeal his case.
Cheng, meanwhile, said the court’s decision helps see that justice is served, adding that he will not consider seeking civil compensation. He said he only hopes the police force can learn a lesson from the case and prevent similar ones from happening again.
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