Former lawmaker Raymond Wong Yuk-man has won an appeal against his conviction of assault for hurling a glass at former chief executive Leung Chun-ying at the Legislative Council in July 2014.
On Thursday, the Court of First Instance ruled that the prosecution failed to prove Wong committed assault. Wong’s conviction and sentence were both quashed.
The incident took place during a question-and-answer session at the legislature. After Leung entered the chamber, Wong repeatedly threw papers at the Chief Executive, despite security guards’ attempts to stop him. Wong then hurled a water glass in Leung’s direction.
The Office of the Chief Executive alerted the police following the incident. The day after, Wong said that he had planned to throw water, but the glass “slipped” out of his hand. He surrendered himself to the police the same day.
Wong was sentenced to two weeks’ imprisonment after he was convicted of assault in October 2016. He then filed an appeal and was allowed to post bail.
After Thursday’s ruling, Wong told reporters that justice had been served.
“This was a very mentally draining legal case, but I persisted to the end and I won. The reason I appealed was because I could not allow [Leung] to establish a precedent where a lawmaker can be sued for assault just for engaging in physical protests,” Wong said. “If the Legislative Council President or government officials can then claim they have been assaulted, what’s left for lawmakers to do in LegCo chambers?”
“In an unjust legislature, a democratically elected lawmaker must resist in any way they can. You cannot be intimidated,” he added.
In her 17-page judgment, High Court judge Judianna Barnes Wai-ling wrote that there was insufficient evidence to prove a criminal act or criminal intent.
On the point of the criminal act, Barnes wrote that the testimony of the first prosecution witness – former chief executive Leung Chun-ying – was not supported by the CCTV footage.
“If [Leung] had really heard the noise the moment the glass hit the ground, and worried that he may be hurt, he should have immediately turned around to see what happened… The behaviour of [Leung] was not in accordance with common sense, and had an inherent impossibility,” the judgment read.
Barnes also wrote that, according to the CCTV footage, Leung did not “freeze” as he claimed after hearing the glass hit.
As for criminal intent, the judge wrote that the magistrate did not fully consider the past protests and disruptive behaviour of Wong. The court should not only consider the act of throwing a glass, but also Wong’s identity as a lawmaker and his past behaviour, according to Barnes.
“The court cannot preclude the possibility that [Wong] was throwing the water at the President’s stand at the time,” Barnes wrote.
Leung responded to the ruling in a Facebook post, saying that he hoped the ruling would not encourage others to follow in Wong’s shoes.
“If I face similar attacks in the future, I would still report them to the police.”
Additional reporting: Kris Cheng.