Statement of the Progressive Lawyers Group in response to recent comments by certain groups and figures attacking the Judiciary (Please scroll down for English full text)
(a) 2015年3月15日，由「愛護香港力量」組織、在高等法院外舉行的抗議活動中，有示威人士叫喊如「警察拉人、法官放人」的口號。 2015年3月26日，葛珮帆議員於立法會內恃著議會特權的保護去覆述 那句口號。
(b) 在《蘋果日報》於2015年3月25日刊登的訪問中，「愛港之聲」主席高 達斌批評法官輕判示威者，指出「警察咁辛苦拉到人，上到法庭畀你嗰班狗官咁判，真係激死」。(註：底線為後加以作強調)。
(c) 在2015年3月27日，一個稱為「光復香港」的團體在其臉書專頁發 帖，上載了10幅展示了口號的標語相片，聲稱他們會於由其組織、並 在2015年3月28日舉行的抗議司法機構輕判示威人士的集會時使用。 該團體於其臉書專頁發帖上載的相片，顯示他們確曾於上述集會中使 用該等標語。該等標語上展示的口號包括:-
(i) 「禍港法官，快快Go Home」;
(vi) 「假髪官有法不依，犯氓更有侍(恃)無恐」; 及
(a) 在1998年的一個判決中，香港法院曾指出： 「尊重司法機構及維護司 法機構尊嚴為法治非常重要的一部分，否則將會動搖公眾對司法公正 的信心，甚至敗壞法律的聲譽。(中文譯本)」
(b) 當有人發表一些批評或一連串批評並旨在 (即具實際意圖或罔顧後果地) 藐視法庭或法官、損害其權威或干擾司法公正，並且造成該等效果的 真實風險，便可構成藐視法庭的刑事罪行。
3. 近期針對司法機構的批評既無合理分析，亦無證據支持。那些批評包括對司法機構作無理及莫須有般的攻擊，以及更嚴重、涉嫌干犯藐視法庭 刑事罪行的批評。法治至上的社會決不能接受此等欠缺理據、打擊社會對司法程序信心的攻擊。
4. 因此，法政匯思促請有關各方立即停止對司法機構作出那些攻擊。我們更促請律政司司長履行普通法傳統及慣例下肩負司法機構最終捍衛者的 任務，作出鏗鏘有力的發聲，阻止那些粗暴、可鄙、針對司法機構的攻擊。作為法律界人士，這是我們對律政司司長的基本期望。
1. We note from recent press reports that, in relation to the handling by courts of cases involving those arrested during various anti-parallel trader and pro-democracy protests, certain groups or individuals have made comments such as the following:
(a) During a protest outside the High Court organised by “Caring Hong Kong Power” on 15 March 2015, protesters yelled slogans such as “The police arrest, the courts release” (“警察拉人、法官放人”). This slogan was repeated, under the
apparent guise of parliamentary privilege, by Legislative Council member Elizabeth Quat inside the Legislative Council on 26 March 2015.
(b) In an interview with the Apple Daily published on 25 March 2015, Patrick Ko of “Voice of Loving Hong Kong” complained about the leniency of sentences handed down by judges against protesters, saying that “The police worked hard to arrest these people, but when they get to court these dog-judges rules in such a way, it’s so upsetting” (“警察咁辛苦拉到人，上到法庭畀你嗰班 狗官咁判，真係激死”, emphasis added).
(c) On 27 March 2015, a group known as “Clean Hong Kong” (“光復香港”) released a post on its Facebook page. The post contains ten photographs of signs with slogans which the group claimed would be chanted during a protest that it has organised for 28 March 2015 against judicial leniency against protesters. Based on photographs posted by this group on its Facebook page, it would appear that such signs were in fact used during the protest itself. The slogans contained in these signs include:
(i) “Judges who ruin Hong Kong, hurry up and go home” (“禍港法官，快快 Go Home”);
(ii) “Judges ruling recklessly have killed the rule of law” (“法官亂判亡法 治”);
(iii) “With yellow corpse [being a homonym in Cantonese for ‘yellow ribbon’] judges as gatekeepers, the water in our home’s s**thole is poured out backwards” (“黃屍法官首尾門，屋企屎坑水倒灌”);
(iv) “Abolish the judiciary’s independent immunity, hit out at the juidicary’s malpractice and corruption” (“廢除司法獨立免責，打擊司法 舞弊貪污”);
(v) “The police’s arrests and the judges’ releases murder the rule of law”
(vi) “Fake wig judges do not follow laws, guilty hooligans [being a homonym in Cantonese for ‘pan-democrats’] become daring and fearless” (“假髪官有法不依，犯氓更有侍無恐”); and
(vii) “I want real judges, not fake wig judges” (“我要真法官，不要假髪官”).
2. In a free society, the judiciary and individual judges are not and should not be immune to criticism. However:
(a) In a 1998 ruling, a Hong Kong court noted that “[i]t has always been regarded as vital to the rule of law for respect for the judiciary to be maintained and for their dignity to be upheld. If it were otherwise, public confidence in the administration of justice would be undermined, and the law itself would fall into disrepute.”
(b) Where there is a real risk that certain comments or series of comments were calculated (ie such comments were made with actual intent or with recklessness) to bring a Court or judge into contempt or lower their authority or to interfere with the administration of justice, they would constitute criminal contempt of Court.
3. The recent comments against the judiciary as noted above do not contain any reasoned analysis, nor backed by any evidence. Such baseless undermining of society’s confidence in the judicial process is unacceptable in a place where the rule of law is paramount. These comments range from being at best unreasonable and unwarranted attacks on the judiciary, to being at worst outright criminal contempt of court.
4. The Progressive Lawyers Group therefore call on these recent attacks on the judiciary to cease immediately. We further call on the Secretary for Justice, who under common law tradition and convention is tasked with being the ultimate defender of the judiciary, to speak out clearly and forcefully against such outrageous and scurrilous attacks on the judiciary. As members of the legal profession, we expect no less.
Progressive Lawyers Group
30 March 2015