A Hong Kong magistrate who suggested a policeman was a dishonest and unreliable witness has acquitted a university student of assaulting the officer during an anti-government protest last year.
On Monday, magistrate May Chung Ming-sun expressed doubts about the testimony of Constable Shum Hung-yuen, and said he had not explained how the student had suffered serious injuries after his arrest.
The magistrate said Shum’s account of the incident was unconvincing and inconsistent with the facts of the case.
Prosecutors alleged that the officer had been assaulted by Aidan Tam Ho-yu inside a police van at 2am on August 4, after he was arrested on suspicion of participating in an unlawful assembly outside Wong Tai Sin Police Station.
Shum testified at Kwun Tong Court that Tam had resisted violently inside the vehicle, hitting the officer’s left cheek with his head. But a medical report showed that Shum was hit in the right cheek.
Tam, however, suffered a broken nose and facial injuries in the incident.
“I cannot accept that [Shum] is an honest and reliable witness … The prosecution has failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt,” Chung said.
Tam’s defence counsel, Joe Chan Wai-yin, accused Shum of assaulting his client because he believed he was videotaping the inside of the van with his mobile phone.
Police video footage showed that Tam boarded the van without apparent injuries, but was subsequently diagnosed with a fractured nose and scratches and bruises on the face in hospital.
Shum said the defendant broke his nose by himself during the struggle.
When asked by Chan whether the medical report was untrue, Shum said he could not explain its findings.
Chung cleared Tam of one count of assaulting a police officer, and said the defendant had suffered serious head injuries inside the police vehicle, which might have been caused by repeated collision with hard objects.
She also found that Shum did not sustain the injuries as claimed, according to his medical report.