Hong Kong Justice Department seeks appeal after Jimmy Lai found not guilty

Published (HKT): 2020.09.17 19:00

The Department of Justice is appealing against the court’s acquittal of pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai over a case of intimidation.

The department confirmed to Apple Daily that it is making an appeal by way of case stated, according to section 105 of the Magistrates Ordinance, against last month’s court ruling that found Lai not guilty of intimidating a reporter from rival newspaper Oriental Daily three years ago.

The 72-year-old Apple Daily founder was accused of intimidating X in 2017, after the latter took pictures of him before the June 4 vigil at Victoria Park. X said Lai threatened to “find someone to mess with” him.

Lai clarified that the remark merely meant he would seek legal actions.

According to defense lawyers, X’s employer Oriental Daily has closely followed Lai since 2014 and X’s photography was highly intrusive. Despite not being provoked at the time, Lai had come under constant pressure, which resulted in a quick outburst in 2017.

X testified that he had sought help from psychiatrists and was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder after the event. Lai’s legal representatives argued that X continued to work for over two hours at the park following the confrontation. His claim that he has not fully recovered two months after the event did not match the doctor’s report either.

The magistrate said in the ruling that X was dishonest and unreliable.

Defense lawyers added that the actual reason why X reported to the police was perhaps aligned with his employer’s interests in causing Lai trouble. Oriental Daily and X have written to the Department of Justice 17 times, demanding a decision on the prosecution.

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