A Hong Kong court threw out two private prosecutions on Monday (Aug 24)-including one against a police officer who shot a pro-democracy protester last year-following a unprecedented intervention by the Justice Secretary of the financial hub.
Mr Ted Hui, an opposition lawmaker, brought the private lawsuits after prosecutors refused to file charges for two incidents during the major and frequently violent anti-government protests of last year.
The first was a reckless driving lawsuit against a taxi driver who, in early October, ploughed his car into a crowd of protesters and wounded two people. The other concentrated on a police officer who a month later shot a masked protester in the face, with Mr Hui seeking to bring a grievous lawsuit for bodily harm.
After Justice Secretary Theresa Cheng announced she was using her authority to stop the proceedings, a magistrate threw out both cases days. Spectators in the public gallery heckled prosecutors on their way out of court, as both cases were officially shelved.
Ms Cheng warned that she would put an end to any private prosecutions which are groundless or frivolous or motivated by inappropriate motives or political considerations says on her official blog.
But activists have accused officials of cutting off a way for citizens to seek redress. According to Mr Hui he is disappointed with today ‘s ruling and he’s extremely furious at the intervention and termination of cases by the Department of Justice. He added He will continue to lodge private lawsuits and hope that citizens in Hong Kong will continue to practice this right to pursue justice provided for in the common law system.
Soon after the attack, the taxi driver who crashed through crowds of demonstrators was beaten unconscious, and previously told local media that he did not know how his vehicle was veering out of control. Two men alleged to have been involved in his beating were arrested for rioting.
The 21-year-old who was shot a month later by police survived his wounds and was charged with obstructing the police, trying to escape custody and attempting the officer’s gun robbery.
Several disciplinary charges against police have been launched for actions taken during last year’s demonstrations, including three officers fired with live bullets at demonstrators. Officers also argued their use of force during was justifiable.