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HomeEntertainmentHong Kong Court Orders Search of Media Tycoon Jimmy Lai's Phones

Hong Kong Court Orders Search of Media Tycoon Jimmy Lai’s Phones

Two telephones owned by jailed pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai might be searched on nationwide safety grounds and usually are not protected by journalistic privilege, a senior decide dominated Tuesday in Hong Kong.

Lai, proprietor of the now-shuttered Apple Each day tabloid, will quickly go on trial for “collusion with international forces,” an offense that carries as much as life in jail underneath the sweeping nationwide safety legislation Beijing imposed on Hong Kong two years in the past.

Two smartphones had been seized when a whole lot of cops arrested Lai and raided the newsroom of Apple Each day, which ultimately collapsed after its belongings had been frozen underneath the safety legislation.

Lai’s authorized workforce claimed the content material of the telephones was lined by journalistic privilege, which is acknowledged by case legislation in Hong Kong, in addition to authorized privilege that protects conversations between attorneys and their shoppers.

Final month, police utilized for a warrant to look the telephones underneath the nationwide safety legislation.

Wilson Chan, one of many Excessive Courtroom judges handpicked by the federal government to strive safety circumstances, on Tuesday dominated that police might search Lai’s telephones, together with journalistic supplies. He excluded content material lined by authorized privilege.

“Press freedom merely doesn’t equate [to] any blanket prohibition in opposition to the seizure, manufacturing or disclosure of journalistic supplies,” Chan wrote in his judgement.

Chan dominated the warrant covers all varieties of supplies as long as they include or are prone to include proof of a nationwide safety offense, together with journalistic supplies.

Chan, nonetheless, later agreed to grant a keep on police accessing the telephones till subsequent week, to present Lai’s workforce time to enchantment to a better court docket.

In a day-long judicial evaluation listening to final week, Lai’s lead lawyer, Philip Dykes, warned that the dearth of safeguards for journalistic supplies would trigger a chilling impact.

“Confidential journalistic supplies are a vital characteristic and a cornerstone of a wholesome and functioning free press,” Dykes instructed the court docket.

Dykes, a former chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Affiliation, argued that the nationwide safety warrant “abrogated the safety of journalistic supplies” underneath Hong Kong legislation.

Jenkin Suen, representing the Division of Justice, countered that “journalistic supplies can’t by definition type the topic of any order or route of the court docket authorizing search or requiring disclosure or manufacturing.”

Hong Kong has tumbled down press freedom rankings because the imposition of the safety legislation, which has begun reworking its authorized panorama, together with toughening bail necessities and eliminating juries in some circumstances.

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