The High Court has rejected a bid for a judicial review against Chief Executive Carrie Lam over her criticism of Occupy leader Benny Tai, ruling that her comments are not an infringement of the academic's freedom of speech.
The court also blasted retired civil servant Kwok Cheuk-kin's attempt to get court to take up the matter, describing it as an abuse of the court’s jurisdiction in judicial reviews.
Kwok – known locally as "king of judicial reviews" for his many attempts to lodge cases against the government and officials – had argued that Lam had infringed the Basic Law when she condemned the Hong Kong University professor for his remarks at a forum in Taiwan last month.
Tai's comment that Hong Kong could consider independence if China ever becomes a democracy was denounced by the government, and Lam later said she was behind the condemnation of the academic.
Kwok claimed that Lam's action was in breach of the Basic Law as it guarantees freedom of speech.
Handing down his decision, Judge Anderson Chow described the application as “completely misconceived”. He said the Chief Executive is “plainly entitled to speak publicly on matters of public interest”, and that she hasn’t infringed Tai’s freedom of speech.
He also said Lam's words don’t carry any legal consequences, and therefore they don’t amount to any decision which could properly form the subject matter of an application for judicial review.
He added that Kwok has no standing to complain about what the Chief Executive said, as Tai, the person who is most affected by the remarks, has not taken any legal action himself.
Court rejects bid against CE over Benny Tai remark
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