December 2, 2022
HONG KONG – Hong Kong’s High Court on Thursday postponed the trial of Jimmy Lai Chee-ying’s national security case until Dec 13.
Lai, founder of the now-defunct Apple Daily newspaper, is charged with collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security and three other offenses. His trial was scheduled to begin on Dec 1.
Earlier, the Court of Final Appeal ruled in favor of allowing Lai to hire British King’s Counsel Timothy Owen to defend him in the trial. The Department of Justice later applied to adjourn the case for seven days, to wait for the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) to make an interpretation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong, clarifying whether overseas lawyers who are not qualified to “practice generally” in Hong Kong should be allowed to engage in national security cases in the city.
The High Court also requested the Department of Justice submit an estimated timetable of the interpretation by noon on Dec 12
A panel of three judges of the High Court said on Thursday that the court agreed to postpone the case, and hope to spare sufficient time to wait for the NPCSC interpretation. The court also requested the Department of Justice submit an estimated timetable of the interpretation by noon on Dec 12.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Chau Tin-hang, who represents the prosecution of the case, said the government’s request of a legal interpretation received support from various central government departments overseeing Hong Kong affairs. He believes the NPCSC will accept this proposal.
Owen did not appear at Thursday’s hearing. Local Senior Counsel Robert Pang Yiu-hung represented him to hear the case.