Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng SC did not seek independent counsel prior to

Secretary for justice teresa cheng sc did not seek

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Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng SC did not seek independent counsel prior to deciding in December 2018 against prosecuting former CE C.Y. Leung who had been investigated by the ICAC for receiving HK$50 million from UGL. Former Director of Public Prosecution, IG Cross (2019): “[A]n independent perspective in politically sensitive cases is absolutely vital if the department’s final decision is to command public confidence.” Trial by Jury 91 92
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47 Trial by jury is a very ancient institution, with historical roots traceable back to at least the year 1160: Magna Carta Clause 1215 cl. 39: no freeman should be punished ‘except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land’. The tacit assumption of jury trials is that the participation of 12 randomly selected lay persons injects a democratic and popular element into a remote, elitist, and technically arcane legal system. The jury empowers individual citizens to return verdicts on the most serious crimes independently of the State . Lord Devlin (1956): ‘… trial by jury is more than an instrument of justice and more than one wheel of the constitution: it is the lamp that shows that freedom lives’. Juries had played an important role in moderating the harshness of early colonial criminal justice : Only roughly half of the 5,000 people committed for trial by jury between 1844 and 1870 had been found guilty. 93 94
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48 Art.86, Basic Law: ‘The principle of trial by jury previously practised in Hong Kong shall be maintained ’. Chiang Lily v Secretary for Justice (2009), the Court of First Instance (Wright J): There does not exist, in Hong Kong, any absolute right to trial by jury nor any mechanism by which a person to be tried of an indictable offence may elect to be so tried. The decision as to whether an indictable offence be tried in the Court of First Instance by a judge and jury or in the District Court by a judge alone is the prerogative of the Secretary for Justice ’. Before the Handover, only Anglophones were eligible for juror service. Implications? Today, the relaxation of the language requirement has made the jury a more representative institution: The jury pool has increased from 20,000 in 1995 to about one-tenth of the entire population in 2014 (about 700,000). 95 96
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49 Section 4(1), Jury Ordinance (Cap.3), a juror must be: At least 21 years old but not older than 64 years. Of sound mind and constrained by no disability to discharge the duties of a juror. Of good character. Sufficiently proficient in the language of the proceedings Categories of persons exempt from jury service (s 5), e.g., Executive Councillors and Members of the Legislative Council Justices of the Peace; Public officers, including judges Practicing barristers and solicitors and their clerks Registered physicians, chemists, and dentists Newspaper editors Members of the clergy Full-time students Pilots Members of the People’s Liberation Army and their spouses
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