The judge in the Yuen Long mob attack trial has criticised prosecutors for being poorly prepared as the proceedings against eight defendants get under way.
The eight made their first appearance in District Court on Monday, charged with rioting in relation to the attack during Hong Kong’s months of anti-extradition bill protests in 2019.
Judge Eddie Yip has made several criticisms of prosecutors, according to media reports.
On Monday, the prosecution was rapped for a mix-up in medical records. Local media said police only realised three days before the trial that they had an outdated medical report on a victim of the attack, even though the hospital had submitted it in late 2019.
Yip questioned whether the investigators had read the report, and said: “Was the report put in a fridge and frozen for one and a half years? Was the file frozen for one and a half years?”
The judge then requested the name and title of the officer responsible for the incident. The prosecution initially wanted to submit this in writing.
But Yip told Anthony Chau, senior assistant director of public prosecutions, to inform him directly “because it’s an open trial, we don’t pass notes.”
Chau also admitted that the prosecution had relied on the testimony of witnesses but not on the medical report when the victim’s injuries were mentioned in the case.
On the third day of the trial, the prosecution was rapped again, this time for the content of its opening statement.
According to StandNews and CitizenNews, Yip criticised the prosecution for mentioning a movie viewing organised by protesters five days before the attack, after the prosecution failed to prove that the viewing was related to the Yuen Long MTR violence.
Yip told the prosecution not to waste the court’s time and resources.
StandNews also reported that Ip questioned prosecutors’ description of the attack in the MTR station.
The prosecution initially described it as a “violent clash” between white-clad people and black-clad people, and did not make it clear that the white-clad group initiated the attack until Yip raised questions.
The first witness was eventually summoned to testify three days after the trial began.