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Hong Kong Court of Appeal upholds decision to grant ad hoc admission to Tim Owen KC to defend Hong Kong media owner Jimmy Lai

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Hong Kong Court of Appeal (Justice Kwan, Justice Chu and Justice Au) have upheld the decision to allow Tim Owen KC to defend Jimmy Lai. The trial is expected to start in December 2022.

The Court of Appeal judgment declared that

“this is a clear case for granting the ad hoc admission of Mr Owen in the trial of Mr Lai. None of the grounds of appeal are made out. There is no valid basis to interfere with the exercise of the judge’s discretion… Public perception of fairness in the trial is of vital importance to the administration of justice… It is clearly in the public interest to grant the application for admission on grounds of public perception as well as the other grounds that have been canvassed… We see no reason why the Secretary for Justice should not pay the costs of the applicant in this unsuccessful appeal. We make an order nisi to this effect.”

Mr Lai will be tried by a panel of three Judges approved to preside over trials which engage Hong Kong’s National Security Law. It will be the first occasion on which a charge of collusion with foreign powers has been prosecuted.

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