Court told about "unusual” police deployment in democrats trial
A lawyer representing veteran democrats Albert Ho Chun-yan and Martin Lee Chu-ming in an illegal assembly case on Wednesday submitted an expert report to the court, alleging the police had not deployed enough officers to manage the crowd during a protest on August 18, 2019.
As part of their case, the pair’s lawyer submitted a report compiled by Clifford Stott, a British expert in policing who in 2019 quit a panel formed by the Hong Kong Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) mandated to probe into alleged police brutality during the social unrest of that year.
Stott’s report to the court suggested that the police did not deploy enough manpower during the protest at the center of this trial, even after organizers said they expected 300,000 people to turn up at the rally.
He said the force's manpower arrangement was "unusual".
The defence counsel for Ho and Lee said that was why organisers had to ask participants to follow a “flow” of crowd to enter and leave the park in one direction.
What they did on that day, the counsel submitted, was only to protect the safety of the public.
If Stott’s report is accepted by the trial judge at the District Court, the defence said it will arrange for him to testify via a video link.
Ho and Lee, as well as media tycoon Jimmy Lai, former lawmakers Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, Lee Cheuk-yan, Cyd Ho Sau-lan, and Leung Kwok-hung had pleaded not guilty to organizing and taking part in an illegal assembly.
Former legislator Au Nok-hin had earlier admitted to organising and taking part in an unauthorised assembly, while another ex-lawmaker, Leung Yiu-chung pleaded guilty to joining the assembly. Sentencing for the pair has been adjourned to March 22.