Hong Kong’s first trial under Beijing’s national security deviates from common law

Hong Kong — The trial of the first person charged under Hong Kong’s National Security Act is scheduled to end on Tuesday, and defendants are released on bail and a jury in a groundbreaking case in which critics say they deviate from common law. Refused.

Former waiter Tong Ying-kit, 24, pleaded not guilty to terrorism on July 1, last year, shortly after the law was enacted, instigated withdrawal, and caused serious physical harm in dangerous driving. Claimed to have caused.

Hong Kong common law has traditionally allowed defendants to seek release unless prosecutors can provide a legitimate reason for their detention.

Under the security law imposed by the new Beijing, which has reached the end of its politically independent judicial system for global financial hubs, the burden of proof is to prove that it does not violate the law if released on bail. It is in the defendant. A reversal of international norms based on the presumption of innocence that the defendant is “innocent until proved guilty”.

Beijing and the Pro-Beijing Hong Kong government said they called for new Communist legislation needed to bring “stability” to the former British colony after the 2019 anti-Beijing protest.

Ton’s trial is presided over by three judges, Esther Toh, Anthia Pan, and Wilson Chan, who were carefully selected by Hong Kong’s Pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam to hear the national security case. .. There is no jury.

The Hong Kong judiciary describes jury trials as one of the most important features of the city’s legal system. This is a common law tradition aimed at providing defendants with additional protection against excessive power of the authorities.

Article 46 of the Peace Preservation Law, drafted by Beijing, where the courts are controlled by the Communist Party and the conviction rate is nearly 100%, states three cases in which a jury could be abandoned: protection of state secrets, It describes cases involving foreign troops and the protection of juries. ‘ safety.

Ton, the first of more than 120 people arrested under security law, has been accused of driving a motorcycle to police at a rally with the flag of the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong Era Revolution.”

Interpretation of the protest slogan is an important element of the trial. The government said it suggested a call for independence that violated the Chinese administration’s security law. The defense lawyer claims that it is a phrase with a variety of meanings, including a desire for freedom and democracy.

Ton’s fate could show how the court handles a number of other national security cases.

The Epoch Times contributed to this report.

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