The District Court on Wednesday handed down jail sentences of up to 10 months to 12 former lawmakers and activists who pleaded guilty to taking part in or inciting others to join a banned June 4 vigil last year.
Albert Ho, Figo Chan and Andrew Wan were each sentenced to 10 months behind bars; Steven Kwok and Chiu Yan-loi were jailed for eight months each; and Cyd Ho, Leung Kwok-hung, Chu Hoi-dick and Yeung Sum were each given six-month prison terms.
Cheung Man-kwong, Mak Hoi-wah and Leung Kwok-wah each received suspended sentences due to their clear criminal records, health conditions and public service performed.
Authorities did not grant approval to last year's vigil, citing the pandemic.
Judge Amanda Woodcock said the defendants had "wrongly and arrogantly" believed their cause was more important than protecting the community from a public health crisis.
She added freedom of assembly, though protected by the Basic Law, was subject to restrictions because of public safety, and it was a serious offence for the defendants to violate and incite people to flout social distancing measures.
She said the fact that the vigil didn't lead to a Covid-19 outbreak did not make the defendants less culpable, and decided custodial sentences were needed.
The judge also decided that the prison sentences for Albert Ho, Figo Chan, Cyd Ho, Leung Kwok-hung and Yeung Sum, who were already in jail in relation to other protest-related cases, would run concurrently with existing ones.