Govt ordered to pay legal fees of student leaders - RTHK
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Govt ordered to pay legal fees of student leaders

2018-08-10 HKT 18:05
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  • The court said the justice department's arguments for not paying the legal costs of (from left) Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow were inconsistent. File photo: RTHK
    The court said the justice department's arguments for not paying the legal costs of (from left) Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow were inconsistent. File photo: RTHK
Timmy Sung reports
The Court of Final Appeal on Friday accepted a plea from Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow and ordered the government to pay all the legal costs the trio incurred as they fought the government's efforts to put them behind bars over a 2014 protest.

The three pro-democracy activists earlier this year had won their appeal to quash prison terms given to them over the storming of Civic Square, an incident that set off the Occupy protests. They were originally given non-custodial sentences, but the Department of Justice appealed this decision.

In its judgement, the Court of Final Appeal said the argument that the Department of Justice put forward for not paying the trio's legal costs had been inconsistent.

When prosecutors convinced a lower court to increase the non-custodial punishments originally given to Wong, Law and Chow, they had said this was in the public interest.

But then the prosecutors said public money should not be used to cover the legal costs the three activists incurred.

The judges then went on to add that the case in fact, did involve public interest and said this was all the more reason for awarding the three their legal costs.

And the judges also said that previous court rulings on costs that the prosecutors put forward to support their argument did not make for a persuasive comparison with these proceedings.

Wong, Law and Chow were given prison terms of between six and eight months in August last year following the government appeal. But in February this year, the Court of Final Appeal overturned the punishments, saying that the lower court had laid down a new set of sentencing guidelines and then wrongly applied them retroactively to the trio.