Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Top Excuses To Get Out Of Jury Service

Hong Kong's biggest corruption case begins today, following the selection of the 9-panel jury. The case will focus on former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan who is alleged to have received HK$34 million in cash and other inducements from the heads of Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) and others.

During the jury selection process, there were 150 candidates with many citing various excuses as to why they thought they were unsuitable inconvenienced to perform their public duty, such as ...

1) Planned holidays, with one woman going to South Korea to meet "a handsome man" who acted in the well-known science fiction series My Love from the Star. Mr Justice Macrae joked: "It looks like the court will have to move to Korea."

2) Having to plan a funeral.

3) Caring for a newborn.

4) Going on honeymoon.

5) Attending the World Cup in Brazil.


Reference

Corruption trial of Rafael Hui and the Kwok brothers opens after jury selected (SCMP; paywall)

Corruption trial of former chief secretary and the Kwok brothers will begin today, with the judge saying it could last about four months
PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 May, 2014, 12:06pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 May, 2014, 8:46am

Stuart Lau and Patsy Moy stuart.lau@scmp.com


(From left) Former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan, billionaire brothers Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong, co-defendants Thomas Chan Kui-yuen, executive director of SHKP and former Hong Kong Stock Exchange official Francis Kwan Hung-sang, arrive at the court at the start of their trial. Photos: Reuters, AFP, SCMP

The city's most high-profile corruption case gets under way this afternoon and is likely to last for about four months after a jury was selected yesterday.

Mr Justice Andrew Macrae told the jury the High Court trial - which involves what he called "relatively straightforward" issues - might run until October.

That is two months over the original 70-day schedule.

Nine jurors - four women and five men - will hear claims that former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan received HK$34 million in cash and other inducements from the heads of Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) and others.

During the two-hour jury selection process, some among the 150-strong pool gave various reasons for why they were unsuitable to perform their public duty.

Several said they had planned trips to South Korea, with one woman going there to meet "a handsome man" who acted in the science fiction series My Love from the Star. Mr Justice Macrae joked: "It looks like the court will have to move to Korea."

And after one said he planned to go to Thailand, the judge replied: "There's a coup there."

Other excuses included having to plan a funeral, caring for a newborn, going on honeymoon and attending the soccer World Cup in Brazil.
The judge warned them they had to declare if they or close relatives had personal links to the defendants or people and firms related to the hearing.

But those who had bought flats from SHKP would be eligible as long as they did not have legal disputes with the developer.

Mr Justice Macrae told the pool that the court would excuse them only when there were "compelling reasons" to do so.

"Inconvenience is not a sufficient reason to be excused," he said. "Without people's cooperation, the jury system, which we are lucky and are proud to have, cannot work properly and smoothly."

He also warned the jurors not to conduct their own research, read related news or discuss the case with others on Facebook. He asked them to keep a "fresh, open mind" and to rely only on evidence they heard in the court.

He said: "It is not necessary that the jury is completely ignorant as to the identity of the persons they are about to try. Otherwise, the famous could never be tried."

He said the issues in the case were "relatively straightforward", though it did not mean evidence would not be complex.

Hui, 66, faces eight charges related to bribery and misconduct in public office.

Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong, 62, co-chairman of SHKP, faces one charge of conspiracy to offer an advantage to Hui and two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, 61, also co-chairman, faces four charges, including one count of furnishing false information with Hui.

Thomas Chan Kui-yuen, executive director of SHKP, and former Hong Kong stock exchange official Francis Kwan Hung-sang each face two charges. All plead not guilty.








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