The High Court has rejected a request for appeal from the abusive employer of Indonesian domestic helper Erwiana Sulistyaningsih.

Law Wan-tung, 44, was sentenced to six years in prison and fined HK$15,000 last February for physically abusing Erwiana. She was found guilty of 18 charges, including assault and criminal intimidation. She then applied with the High Court to appeal her conviction and sentence.

high court
Photo: HKFP.

Law, who has been serving her sentence for over a year, appeared at the High Court on Thursday morning and was not represented by a lawyer, RTHK reported.

The prosecution argued that Law’s actions, apart from causing serious physical injury to Erwiana, also had a mental and emotional impact on the domestic worker. He said the medical report and other evidence supported Law’s conviction and added that the jail term was justified.

law erwiana
Law. File

The Hon. Justice Michael Victor Lunn denied Law permission to appeal, saying that the court had already issued a notice this March asking Law to file documents within 14 days, but Law only submitted a statement in July. In defence, Law said she was not familiar with court procedures.

The judge added that the defendant can launch another application for appeal within 14 days, but the time she serves while awaiting appeal will not be counted as part of the jail term.

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih
Erwiana Sulistyaningsih. File Photo: Adrian Lo.

Last August, Law lodged a judicial review challenge after the Legal Aid Department declined her request for support. She was initially granted permission to pursue the case, but it was quashed last month and she was ordered to pay HK$200,000 in legal costs.

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.