A 24-year-old social worker has been granted leave by Hong Kong’s top court to appeal his conviction for obstructing a Legislative Council officer during a 2014 demonstration outside the building.
The Court of Final Appeal on Thursday allowed Leung’s application, despite the deadline passing. The hearing has been scheduled for January 10, 2018.
However, appeal applications for Leung and League of Social Democrats Vice-Chairman Raphael Wong against their unlawful assembly convictions were denied.
The pair was among 13 protesters convicted of unlawful assembly in relation to protests around the legislative building on June 13, 2014, over the controversial northeast New Territories development plans — after finance Committee chair Ng Leung-sing’s attempts to end a filibuster by the pro-democracy camp on the issue.
The magistrate, in finding them guilty of unlawful assembly, had said that footage showed one of the defendants forcing the glass doors of the LegCo complex open with bamboo sticks and breaking apart security barricades, thus causing disorder and startling legislative staff. The demonstrators were sentenced to community service. Leung was also found guilty of obstructing a Legislative Council officer.
Five of the protesters appealed to the High Court, but their convictions were upheld this January.
Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma said on Thursday that there was unquestionably violence at the protest and a staff member at the scene had to take 85 days of sick leave. Ma said it was not a peaceful demonstration, thus he would not grant permission for appeal, In-media reported.
However, Ma said it was debatable whether a police officer executing their duties within the legislature was to be considered a Legislative Council officer. According to the law, an officer must receive authorisation from the LegCo’s president or the secretary before being considered a legislative officer.
Earlier this year, the North District Council passed a non-binding motion asking the government to suspend the development project.