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Beijing's move unconstitutional, argues lawyer

2016-11-24 HKT 11:02
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  • Beijing's move unconstitutional, argues lawyer
  • Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching lost their Legco seats after their oaths were invalidated. File photo: RTHK
    Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching lost their Legco seats after their oaths were invalidated. File photo: RTHK
Damon Pang reports
A lawyer for Youngspiration's Sixtus Leung has argued that Beijing's recent Basic Law interpretation is unconstitutional, arguing that it amounts to changing the mini-constitution.

But the High Court's Chief Judge challenged the lawyer to provide more evidence to back his argument and asked on what grounds a Hong Kong court could rule the interpretation as an invalid one.

The arguments were made at the Appeal Court, where Youngspiration's Leung and Yau Wai-ching were seeking to overturn a lower court ruling that stripped them of their Legislative Council seats.

Leung's lawyer, Hectar Pun, argued that Beijing's interpretation regarding oath-taking was inconsistent with the Basic Law.

But Chief Judge Andrew Cheung said the interpretation was made in a civil law system. He asked Pun whether, as common law practitioners, it would be "arrogant and ignorant" on their part to judge an interpretation made in another system to be valid.

Pun cited a Court of Final Appeal judgement that the local courts have the jurisdiction to make such a call. He also said Hong Kong is under One Country, Two Systems.

Justice Cheung, however, asked for more evidence on these points. And he also wanted Pun to make clear why he thinks Beijing's interpretation has no retrospective effect.

On the Youngspiration duo, their lawyers argued that they shouldn't be disqualified because oath-taking is an internal matter of Legco .

They said the court shouldn't intervene, as they argued that the president of the Legco is the one who decides whether an oath is valid. The lawyers noted that Andrew Leung has yet to make such a call.

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Last updated: 2016-11-24 HKT 14:11