Judge accepts 17 Stand News articles as evidence - RTHK
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Judge accepts 17 Stand News articles as evidence

2022-11-01 HKT 17:44
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  • The trial at the District Court is being presided over by national security judge Kwok Wai-kin. File photo: RTHK
    The trial at the District Court is being presided over by national security judge Kwok Wai-kin. File photo: RTHK
The District Court on Tuesday ruled to admit 17 allegedly seditious articles as evidence in a trial involving the now-defunct Stand News, rejecting defence arguments that some should not be used because they were beyond a six-month prosecution time limit.

The online news outlet’s parent company Best Pencil (Hong Kong) Limited, alongside former editor-in-chief Chung Pui-kuen and former acting chief editor Patrick Lam, are accused of conspiring to publish seditious publications between July 7, 2020, and December 29 last year.

Both Chung and Lam pleaded not guilty, and the unrepresented company was deemed by the court to have denied the charge, as a trial – presided over by national security judge Kwok Wai-kin – began on Monday.

Citing the Crimes Ordinance, the defence on Monday challenged the admissibility of 10 of the 17 articles put forward by prosecutors, saying they could not be used as evidence because the charges were laid more than half a year after the reports were published online.

The colonial-era law states that charges must be laid within six months of an alleged sedition-related offence.

The prosecution argued that all 17 articles could be used as evidence of a "continuous" conspiracy.

Kwok on Tuesday ruled in favour of the prosecution, adding that they are responsible for proving that the defendants had the intent of committing seditious acts.

The court then heard in the prosecution’s opening statement that the 17 reports in question involved radical individuals or people wanted by police, and were made available online. Prosecutors also alleged that the articles had included calls to overthrow the government and for foreign countries to impose sanctions.

The trial is expected to last for 20 days.

Stand News ceased operations last December after seven people linked to the online media outlet – including Chung and Lam – were arrested.