A man who was accused of attacking a teenager wearing a yellow ribbon had his conviction for common assault overturned at the High Court, after seeking help from the University of Hong Kong’s free legal assistance scheme.

According to the charges, Man Ho-chuen – also known as “the Victoria Park uncle” – was accused of pulling at a yellow ribbon a 19-year-old was wearing and stabbing his neck with his fingers outside the Bank of China Tower in Admiralty during the pro-democracy Occupy protests in October 2014.

He was originally convicted of common assault and sentenced to seven days in jail. He then sought help from HKU’s free legal assistance scheme, Ming Pao reported.

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Man was represented by HKU principal law lecturer Eric Cheung Tat-ming. His conviction and sentence were overturned on appeal at the High Court on Tuesday afternoon. Cheung argued that the teenager claimed his injury was serious and that it had hurt for days, but did not report the matter to the police until after someone showed him a picture with Man in it. The prosecution also did not summon any witnesses to verify whether the picture was authentic, Apple Daily reported.

man ho-chuen
Man Ho-chuen.

Cheung argued that the picture should not have been submitted as evidence at all. The Honourable Justice Barnes said that the trial judge had not analysed these issues and said there was a chance that the picture was not authentic. She also said that Man was not represented at the trial by any lawyers, and it was strange that no one else testified to having witnessed the incident, Oriental Daily reported. She overturned the conviction, and the prosecution did not apply for a re-trial.

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Professor Eric Cheung Tat-ming. Photo: HKFP.

Cheung said that Man had given him a scolding in the past as well, but the HKU scheme does not discriminate or turn away defendants with different political views. Man also said that he had criticised Cheung, but it was not personal. Man and Cheung shook hands after the case.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.