SCMP Article: Hong Kong Magistrate Re-Assigned After Acquitting Govt Protestors

  • The reassignment of a young magistrate is just the latest in a series of controversies drawing the courts into a tug of war over the city’s future
  • With complaints about judges piling up from both sides of the political aisle, Hong Kong’s judiciary finds itself treading an increasingly fine line
When Hong Kong’s judiciary  revealed last week that a young magistrate would be taken out of the courtroom and placed in an administrative role, the move was sharply condemned on both sides of the political divide.
Opposition activists attacked the decision as an attempt to sideline a judicial figure who only a month earlier had acquitted anti-government protesters and  accused police of lying , while the city’s pro-establishment bloc slammed the reshuffle as rewarding clear bias with a hefty pay rise.

Rarely had a judicial appointment, particularly a junior one, triggered such intense scrutiny in the city.

Steeped in the traditions of the common law system inherited from its former British rulers – replete with grey wigs, formal titles and pristine white collar bands – Hong Kong’s judiciary has long prided itself on remaining high above the mudslinging political fray.

Hong Kong judges attend the ceremonial opening of the 2020 legal year at City Hall in Central. Photo: Robert Ng
Hong Kong judges attend the ceremonial opening of the 2020 legal year at City Hall in Central. Photo: Robert Ng

But the uproar over Eastern Magistrate Stanley Ho Chun-yiu’s reassignment shows just how much the landscape has changed. While pressure on the judiciary first began building over cases tied to the 2014 Occupy protests, the branch in recent months has found itself dragged even deeper into a tug of war over the city’s future.

Read the full article.  https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3101505/hong-kong-protests-national-security-law-and-judiciary?utm_source=gazette_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Nightingale%20court%20shuts%20%7C%20Business%20interruption%20ruling%20%7C%20Rule%20of%20law%20warnings_09%2F15%2F2020

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