Ousted pro-democracy lawmaker Lau Siu-lai filed an election petition on Thursday to try to overturn the results of the 2018 Legco by-election for the Kowloon West constituency.
An election official had barred Lau from running for the seat that she herself had vacated after she was disqualified in 2017 for improper oath-taking.
The returning officer had ruled that she had not genuinely changed her previous stance advocating “democratic self-determination” for Hong Kong.
But Lau’s lawyer, Senior Counsel Paul Shieh, told the High Court that the election ban was unreasonable, because she was denied any chance to explain her political views.
He said the Democracy Groundwork politician could have very well repented and changed her stance after the oath-taking saga.
Shieh said his client was denied due process, and the flawed vetting process amounted to a material irregularity.
All candidates must have a right to defend themselves, he said, as the constitutional right to elect or be elected must be well protected.
But the government counsel, Johnny Mok, argued that the court had already ruled in the 2017 oath-taking case that Lau had failed to comply with the constitutional requirements for election
He said the court decision has a lingering effect that could not be easily superseded and that gave the returning officer a basis to make his decision.
Judge Anderson Chow has reserved judgment for a later date.
Pro-government candidate Yan Chan ultimately won the by-election over veteran pan-democrats Lee Cheuk-yan and Frederick Fung.