The seven officers accused of beating up Civic Party member Ken Tsang at the pro-democracy Occupy protests last year appeared in District Court on Tuesday afternoon for the plea session.
In court, the authenticity of news footage showing the alleged attack was challenged, and the prosecution said that TVB refused to provide the identity of the cameraman who took the video.
The defendants, who include a chief inspector, a senior inspector and five junior officers, all wore black suits and red, yellow and black striped ties to court. They were represented by Senior Counsels Cheng Huan and Lawrence Lok ying-kam and barristers Edwin Choy and Bernard Chung. The counsel for the defence said that the defendants deny all charges. They also said that identity will be a key issue in the case.
The defendants have been charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent by allegedly beating Tsang up in a “dark corner” outside the Lung Wui Road Government Building Pump Station East Substation during the Occupy protests last October. One of the officers, Chan Siu Tan, is facing an additional charge of common assault for an incident at the police station.
The prosecution plan to submit news footage uploaded by TVB as evidence, but the judge has doubts over whether the authenticity of the video can be proven. The prosecution would need to show that the video had not been tampered with. The prosecution has sought assistance from the cameraman who shot the footage, but the request was refused. The defence said that whether or not the video was authentic was a point of controversy, Ming Pao reported.
Senior Counsel Leung Cheuk-yin said that the prosecution will summon 42 witnesses, including 38 policemen, two citizens, one expert and one doctor. The defence has applied to adjourn the pre-trial review to March 11 next year. Both sides hope that the actual trial, which is expected to last 20 days, can commence next June.
The seven police officers were charged on October 15, 2015, exactly a year after the incident was said to have happened. On the same day, Ken Tsang was also charged with assaulting and obstructing police, after allegedly splashing them with a liquid on Lung Wo Road, and then resisting arrest. Both parties made their first court appearance a week later on October 19. The case against the officers was transferred to the District Court on November 17.
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