Prosecutors are seeking to transfer the case of a woman and a teenager suspected of handing out seditious leaflets from a magistrate’s court to the District Court.
Chloe Cho, a 45-year-old clerk, and student Wong Chun-wai, 17, are charged with conspiring to produce and distribute seditious publications last year to promote Hong Kong independence.
They are being charged under the Crimes Ordinance instead of the national security law.
They were previously denied bail by West Kowloon Magistracy.
At a court appearance on Wednesday, prosecutors said police have now completed their investigation, and the prosecution now needs more time to prepare documents for transferring the case to the higher court.
A magistrate can impose a maximum jail sentence of two years for a single charge, while the maximum sentence for a District Court case is seven years.
Wong’s lawyer, Lawrence Lau, objected the prosecution's request, noting that the offence the pair face only carries a maximum sentence of two years in jail.
He argued that the magistrates’ court has the jurisdiction to deal with the case.
Lau also said transferring the case to the District Court would be unjust to the student, explaining that the several months that the 17-year-old would have to be held in custody before sentencing would likely not count towards his sentence if he is eventually sent to a training or detention centre.
But chief magistrate Victor So – designated to deal with national security cases – agreed to adjourn the case, saying the court has no power to refuse prosecutors’ request to transfer a case to a higher court.
He again rejected both defendants’ bail applications, citing bail requirements under the Crimes Procedure Ordinance as well as the national security law.
The pair will be remanded in custody until the next hearing on August 26.