Magistrate retracts decision after sentencing blunder

A Kowloon City magistrate has retracted her decision to hand down a suspended jail sentence to a reporter for resisting a police officer, after she mistakenly thought the sentence for the offence could be suspended.

Reporter Ho Ka-yan, who works for the online media outlet Ben Yu Entertainment, was arrested in a public toilet on Sai Yee Street while she was covering a protest in Mong Kok on May 11 last year.

She had complained that officers had kneeled on her neck to restrain her, and had also kicked her in the back. She said they had pepper-sprayed her at close range, which caused her to fall unconscious.

Principal magistrate Ada Yim found the woman guilty, saying Ho had deliberately obstructed an officer from carrying out her duties.

The magistrate said that, even though Ho knew full well that she could only leave once the police had finished searching her, she still batted an officer’s hands away and attempted to leave.

Yim however noted that officers shouldn’t have pepper-sprayed Ho, as she hadn’t been resisting strongly and her subsequent actions could have been for self-protection.

But just two hours after Yim had convicted Ho and handed her a four-week suspended jail term, she called the legal teams back into court to retract the decision.

The magistrate apologised, and said she “must review herself”.

She adjourned the sentencing to July 17. Ho remains on bail.
Last updated: 2021-06-16 HKT 16:44