Tong Ying-kit, charged under Hong Kong‘s new security law, can be tried without a jury, a judge ruled.

Tong Ying-kit, 24, was charged with two crimes under the new National Security law
Tong Ying-kit, 24, was charged with two crimes under the new National Security law 

The first Hong Konger to be charged under Beijings national security law can be tried without a jury, a senior judge said Thursday in a ruling that cements the financial hubs fast-changing legal traditions

Tong Ying-kit, 24, was charged with two crimes under the new law the day after it went into effect after allegedly colliding with a group of police officers on his motorcycle during a protest.

The Hong Kong justice secretary chose not to use a jury on its upcoming trial, a decision that AFP first announced in February. Tong challenged that decision in the Supreme Court, but lost on Thursday.

In his ruling, Supreme Court Justice Alex Lee said before the Security Act: A jury “was the only trial available at this point” for such serious crimes. “However, the same will no longer apply after the National Security Act (NSL) came into effect,” he wrote.

It has been used by Hong Kong for 176 years and named one of the “key features” by the city’s judiciary on its website. However, the national security law, drafted in Beijing last year and passed in Hong Kong, allows cases to be examined by three specially selected judges.

“Any prior right to trial by a jury in the Court of First Instance will be waived in criminal proceedings related to crimes that threaten national security,” Lee wrote.

The lower courts in Hong Kong that convict less serious crimes also have no juries. Lee said this shows that there is no constitutional right to have a jury in any law enforcement action – changes in the legal areas – the security law is specifically designed to quell dissent after the large and often violent protests for democracy that rocked Hong Kong in 2019 and were successful.

It targets any act that is considered secession, subversion, terrorism, and foreign collusion. Its extensive elaboration and subsequent application made many differences of opinion a criminal offense.

More than 100 people were arrested, including many prominent democracy defenders. Most of them were denied bail. and face life in prison if convicted.

It has also radically changed the common law legal landscape in Hong Kong than mainland China, which international corporations and law firms are watching closely. China says it is now responsible for some national security incidents and the law allows mainland security officials to operate openly in the city for the first time.

The presumption of bail for crimes against national security was also removed.In his plea, Tong’s legal advisor, Philip Dykes, argued that the trial was “not only a safeguard against tyranny, but also an assurance that the criminal law applied to a case would conform to the common man’s idea of ​​what is just and just.

“Jenkin Suen, an outside lawyer representing the Justice Department, argued that” judicial proceedings are not constitutional “and that the decision falls within the framework of” prosecutorial independence “. Tong is the only person so far charged with an explicitly violent crime.

All other national security law charges were based on political opinion or speech. Tong faces a number of terrorists and a number of secessions, the latter for allegedly waving a banner with the popular protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time”. He is also facing a dangerous fare. His trial is expected to begin on June 23.

By 12news World

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