The Legal Aid Department has refused to grant funding to a teenager pursuing a personal injury claim against the police after he was shot in the chest during an anti-government protest on National Day last year.
In the letter to Tsang Chi-kin, which was published by pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong on his Facebook page, the department said the use of force by the police at the time was "reasonable."
It also said the schoolboy had failed to show that he had reasonable grounds for filing the bid for compensation.
Wong said the student was appealing against the decision.
Tsang was the first protester to be shot with a live round after anti-government protests erupted in June last year. He was critically ill in hospital for a while after the incident in Tsuen Wan.
The teenager was later charged with rioting and assaulting police officers.
In response to media enquiries regarding the decision, the Legal Aid Department said it considers the background and evidence for each case, as well as relevant legal principles, when deciding whether it passes the "merit test".
A spokesman also said all applications are vetted by lawyers, with advice sought from outside counsel if complicated legal matters are involved.
Wong described the department's decision as yet another assault on the rule of law and judicial independence, saying it cast doubts as to whether the presumption of innocence still holds in Hong Kong.
Govt refuses legal aid to student shot by police
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