THE PROGRESSIVE LAWYERS GROUP'S SHORT COMMENTARY IN RESPONSE TO THE CASE OF MS NG LAI-YING & OTHERS
The Progressive Lawyers Group notes with deep concern the case of Ms. Ng Lai-ying, a protester who was sentenced to imprisonment for three and a half months for assaulting a police officer during an anti-parallel trader protest in March 2015 (together with several other protestors who were also convicted).
Ms. Ng was convicted on the ground that she had used her breast to assault the police officer. We would, with great respect, express our doubts on the decision. As a matter of common sense, it seems improbable that someone who intended to attack another person would use her breast to do so. We acknowledge that the “statement of findings” has not yet been issued, and so the exact reasoning behind the decision is not yet known. However, on the present information, it is difficult not to doubt the decision.
Moreover, we would question, with respect, whether the sentences imposed on Ms. Ng and the other defendants were not excessive. We note that all of the defendants had clear records (in other words, they were first-time offenders). Ms. Ng was also described by the magistrate as having “positive, good character”. It is also relevant that the police officer did not suffer any injury.
We observe that there has been an outpour of public reaction, including many expressions of doubt and disappointment at the findings and sentence in Ms. Ng’s case. In light of what has been stated above, we can understand the sentiments behind such reaction. As it is probable that the case will go on appeal, we will refrain from commenting further on the specific facts at this stage. However, we will continue to closely monitor any further developments.
Progressive Lawyers Group 31 July 2015