The sentencing for activists Joshua Wong, Raphael Wong and Lester Shum – who were found guilty of contempt of court charges – was delayed on Thursday. The judge granted more time to the defence counsel to prepare submissions.
The trio are among 20 democracy activists convicted of criminal contempt for failing to comply with an injunction to clear the Mong Kok pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protest site in 2014.
In October that year, a minibus company successfully applied for an injunction from the court to ban demonstrators from occupying streets in Kowloon. The police arrested people who were suspected to have violated the injunction after obstructing bailiffs at the scene in November 2014.
Joshua Wong and Shum, in addition to nine others, admitted to the charges while Raphael Wong and eight others pleaded not guilty. The court found all 20 guilty in October.
On Thursday, judge Andrew Chan adjourned the sentencing hearing pending further written submissions by Senior Counsel Lawrence Lok, who is representing Joshua Wong amongst others. No date has been set for the next court appearance yet.
The judge noted that a number of defendants had been under 21-years-old at the time of the events, and that they are considered young offenders under the Criminal Procedure Ordinance. The point was also raised during Joshua Wong’s Court of Final Appeal challenge concerning his Civic Square protest conviction.
Both Joshua Wong and Raphael Wong remain on bail pending appeals in other cases. Joshua Wong was jailed over the 2014 Civic Square clashes which preceded the Occupy protests, whilst Raphael Wong was jailed over the 2014 demonstrations outside the Legislative Council against the controversial northeast New Territories development plans.
Senior Counsel Hectar Pun, acting on behalf of Raphael Wong, asked the judge to consider that his client did not escalate the situation in Mong Kok, and had asked others to calm down. He said Wong did not struggle when pressed onto the ground by law enforcement and no one was injured as a result of his actions.
Wong had been motivated by a desire to help society and fight for justice, Pun added.
The two senior counsels also asked the judge to take note of the principle of totality, under which the court takes into consideration other imprisonment terms imposed on an individual in deciding an appropriate sentence.
The pair had both put out statements on Facebook before their court appearances on Thursday, as they had expected to be jailed. Raphael Wong said that he was thankful to the Lord for giving him 14 days of freedom, while Joshua Wong wrote a post entitled “What I want to say in the last 100 minutes of freedom.”
Shum also told reporters outside court before the hearing that they were prepared to go to jail: “I hope we can make ourselves stronger under these difficulties and challenges, so that we can contribute more in the democratic movement in the future.”
Joshua Wong urged supporters to go to the Legislative Council on Thursday night to protest against changes to the house rules which will affect the pro-democracy camp.
Suspended jail sentences
Last week, Judge Andrew Chan gave Cheung Kai-yin, Ma Po-kwan, Wong Lai-wan and Yeung Ho-wah month-long jail sentences over the Occupy clearance operation, suspended for 12 months. Each will also pay a fine of HK$10,000.
The other defendants included: Chau Wan-ying, Chu Wai-lun, Chu Pui-yan, Kwok Yeung-yuk, Chiu Chi-sum, Chan Po-ying, Cheung Kai-hong, Kwan Siu-wang, Hung Cheuk-lun, Fung Kai-hei, Choi Tat-shing, Mak Ying Sheung and Szeto Tze-long Jason.