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The Hong Kong High Court unanimously denies the appeal of Benny Tai, eight other people, against the conviction of Occupy

Nine opposition leaders and activists from Hong Kong have lost an appeal against their convictions over their role in the 2014 Occupy protests. The appellate court made its unanimous decision on Friday to challenge the final group to be brought to justice over the 79-day protest, also known as the umbrella movement. Among them were the three founders of the movement: legal scholar Benny Tai Yiu-ting, retired sociologist Chan Kin-man, and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming. The three-judge panel also unanimously dismissed appeals from the Chairman of Tai and the League of Social Democrats, Raphael Wong Ho-ming, against their verdicts. Tai has not yet completed his 16-month term, while 32-year-old Wong has already served his eight-month term. The couple were each convicted on two charges. Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform for curated content with explanations, FAQs, analysis and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. In court, Chan said he was “very disappointed” with the failure of the appellate judges to correct what he described as inappropriate allegations that “gave the prosecution too much power” and “failed to protect the civil rights of the people.” “We believe that the court should respect the tradition of common law to easily convict those involved in civil disobedience, since civil disobedience is in the public interest and peaceful in nature,” said Chan, who has his own appeal against the verdict had given up. Chan said they would discuss with their lawyers whether to file another appeal with the city’s highest court, but added that they are concerned about monopolizing resources that could be used to help others who are arrested or detained are imprisoned. The nine defendants were found guilty of a number of public molestation charges two years ago. The district court acknowledged that the occupation they advocated was peaceful in the name of greater democracy, but ruled that it had seriously and inappropriately obstructed the public streets of the streets for an extended period of time. On appeal, her lawyers argued that if they were guilty of anything, it was merely a “conspiracy to inspire the Hong Kong people,” claiming that treating their political rhetoric as criminal incitement was “a very damaging, deterrent Could have an effect on freedom of expression ”. . They also said the lower court imposed an “apparently excessive” sentence and made fundamental mistakes in viewing the peaceful protests as “outside the parameters of civil disobedience”. But the appellate judge jury – made up of Vice-President of the Appeals Court Andrew Macrae and Judges Maggie Poon Man-kay and Anthea Pang Po-kam – not only dismissed more than 42 appeals, but also praised District Judge Johnny Chan Jong-Herng for tackling a difficult process with “perfect patience, fairness and ability”. The court hears that Occupy co-founders, who were merely involved in a “conspiracy to inspire” Macrae, said it was important that the court settled the Hong Kong-related case and was aware that the crux of the matter was The crime of public harassment, as Lord Bingham pointed out, was “suffering mutual harm by the public through interference with the rights they enjoy as such”. “This was not a mere demonstration in Central in support of a cause beyond its original scope: It was a determined and sustained effort to cripple the main arteries of central Hong Kong for weeks in order to pressure the government to change its mind. and that went well beyond the inconvenience of ordinary citizens doing business and trying to make a living, ”Macrae wrote in the 76-page ruling. He also said that prior to their appeal to the Central and Admiralty on September 28, 2014, Tai, Chu and Chan Kin-man must have known that the consequences of the proposed occupation would be far-reaching and inevitably cause public harassment. To propose otherwise means “leaving reality and common sense to an abstract and theoretical concept of the reasonable exercise of individual rights,” Macrae said. “We cannot accept the argument that the applicants planned the Occupy Central movement for about 18 months and saw the events on Tim Mei Avenue unfold [in Admiralty before the announcement]I did not knowingly conspire to commit or incite any public nuisance, ”he continued. Macrae also upheld Judge Chan’s ruling that the common law offense of “inciting incitement to incitement” alleged to eight of the defendants was both justified and constitutional under Hong Kong law, stating that the charges brought by prosecutors were the magnitude adequately reflected the behavior and the severity of its effects. Tai, 56, and Chan Kin-man, 62, were each detained for 16 months on charges of conspiracy to cause public nuisance and another who asked others to do the same. 77-year-old Chu, who was also convicted of conspiracy, was sentenced to 16 months in prison for health concerns. Tai was given bail in August 2019 after serving five months and 21 days of his tenure. He is currently being held on pre-trial detention over a national security law case related to an unofficial area code last year. The other six co-defendants are former lawmaker Tanya Chan, 49; Shiu Ka-chun, 51; Lee Wing-tat, 65; Raphael Wong Ho-ming, leader of the League of Social Democrats, 32; and former student leaders Tommy Cheung Sau-yin, 26, and Eason Chung Yiu-wa, 28. This article Hong Kong Supreme Court unanimously rejects Benny Tai’s appeal against Occupy convictions The South China Morning Post downloads our mobile app. Copyright 2021.