Leung Kwok-hung loses appeal over disqualification - RTHK
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Leung Kwok-hung loses appeal over disqualification

2019-02-15 HKT 15:53
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  • Leung Kwok-hung loses appeal over disqualification
Richard Pyne reports
The Court of Appeal has dismissed a legal challenge by Leung Kwok-hung over a lower court's decision to disqualify him as a legislator.

Leung, from the League of Social Democrats (LSD), lost his Legco seat for failing to take his oath of office properly in October 2016.

He had held up a yellow umbrella – a symbol of the 2014 Occupy movement – while reading his oath, and he also ripped up a copy of Beijing's framework for political reform in Hong Kong.

Nathan Law, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu were also ousted from the legislature by the High Court ruling, which followed an interpretation of the Basic Law by the National People's Congress Standing Committee.

Law, Lau and Yiu did not appeal against their disqualifications.

The three-judge Court of Appeal panel ruled on Friday that none of the challenges mounted by Leung's lawyer, Senior Counsel Martin Lee, including three over the validity, scope and effect of Beijing's interpretation of Basic Law Article 104, were valid.

Lee had argued that the interpretation wasn't true or proper, because it also supplemented the Basic Law, which he argued it wasn't entitled to do.

He said since it was a supplementation, it shouldn't have retroactive effect, and Leung couldn't be disqualified.

But the Appeal Court's three-judge panel flatly rejected these arguments. It said the interpretation was not a supplementation, it was stating what Hong Kong law had always been.

It added that taking an oath is not a mere formality, it is a prerequisite and precondition for assuming office.

Leung's legal team also argued that the LSD activist had a legitimate expectation that the Legco president's previous rulings on oaths would continue to be adopted as the benchmark in determining their validity.

The judges said this was wholly misplaced. And the rulings of the Legco president can't bind the courts, they said, which have a constitutional duty to uphold requirements of the Basic Law.

Speaking afterwards, Leung said he would now be taking his case to the city's top court, adding that he believes he is more likely to find justice there.

"If my appeal is accepted by the Court of Final Appeal, there will be two foreign judges. I think they will be more courageous than the others," Leung said.

The former lawmaker's seat in the New Territories East constituency remains vacant.