Tim Owen KC to defend Jimmy Lai in his National Security Law Trial


Photo by Sasar on iStock

In a robust ruling today rejecting the objections of the Hong Kong Justice Secretary and the Hong Kong Bar Association, the Chief Judge of the HK High Court, Jeremy Poon J., granted ad hoc admission to Matrix barrister Tim Owen KC to defend Apple Daily publisher Jimmy Lai at his trial due to commence on 1st December 2022 on charges of conspiracy to publish seditious materials and collusion with foreign powers to endanger national security.

Declaring that in light of his “undisputed expertise and experience as a specialist in criminal and human rights law…it was plainly in the public interest to admit an overseas specialist as eminent as Mr Owen KC to assist the Court in the formidable task of construction at hand.” Poon J. strongly rejected submissions by the Bar Association that the case did not raise issues of law of unusual complexity and held that the case raised issues of immense importance for the development of Hong Kong’s jurisprudence concerning the operation of the National Security Law and its impact on freedom of expression.

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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