November 25, 2021
HONG KONG – The judiciary on Wednesday expressed grave concerns about the recent repeated incidents involving attempts to intimidate judges and judicial officers (JJOs).
In a statement issued on Wednesday night, the judiciary reiterated that attempts to exert improper pressure on JJOs represent a direct challenge to the rule of law and the principle of judicial independence.
The Judiciary reiterated that attempts to exert improper pressure on JJOs represent a direct challenge to the rule of law and the principle of judicial independence
“They must be severely condemned,” the statement reads.
As stated in the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region enjoys independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication. The courts of the HKSAR exercise judicial power independently, free from any interference, the judiciary said.
It said JJOs must decide cases fearlessly, independently and professionally in accordance with the law, regardless of whether they involve controversial laws or social events, or whether the outcomes are popular or likely to attract criticisms.
Those who are dissatisfied with the verdict or sentence may seek an appeal under the existing mechanism. It added.
The judiciary said it has been constantly reviewing security measures for court buildings to ensure the safety of JJOs, staff and other court users.
Security screening has been put in place at the Court of Final Appeal Building, those floors with courtrooms at the High Court Building, the Family Court and the Small Claims Tribunal. By the end of this year, security screening will be extended to the West Kowloon Law Courts Building.
After recent incidents involving suspicious postal items, the judiciary said it has taken a host of additional measures to step up the security in court premises.
These include enlisting the assistance of the Hongkong Post to screen postal items addressed to court buildings before delivery to reporting suspicious postal items to the Police for prompt handling.
The judiciary has also set up designated outdoor checkpoints for postal items to minimize the impact of suspicious mail on court security and court operations.
It has also enhanced police and security support for court buildings and reminded staff and security personnel to stay vigilant.