Update: Judge rejects police request for footage

Mar 9, 2016

by Doreen Weisenhaus with contributions by Rick Glofcheski and Yan Mei Ning (Expanded Second Edition, Hong Kong University Press 2014)

March 9, 2016  — Hong Kong’s High Court has rejected a police request for media to hand over unedited video footage showing activist Ken Tsang allegedly being assaulted by police during the pro-democracy Occupy protests in 2014.

In rejecting the police commissioner’s application for a court order on TVB, Apple Daily, ATV, i-CABLE Communications, and PCCW Media to produce the footage, Justice Judianna Barnes Wai-ling ruled there was “no basis” for believing that any general footage would be of “substantial value to the investigation.”

Justice Barnes said:  “After balancing the importance of the freedom, integrity and impartiality of the press against the need to combat crime and to bring those guilty to justice, and bearing in mind the unedited recordings have already been uploaded and now in the public domain…I am not satisfied that it is in the public interest to grant a production order of the full and unedited footage…”

The judge also rejected a request for the identities of the media’s camera crews, saying this information did not fall under the scope of “journalistic material,” which could be ordered by a court to be produced.

Seven officers were charged after the alleged assault of Tsang. The activist was also charged with assaulting and resisting police officers and his trial is set to start April 11.

Commissioner of Police v Television Broadcasts Ltd, HCMP 114-120/2016

“No need for media to hand over raw footage of confrontation between Ken Tsang and police, rules Hong Kong judge,South China Morning Post,  March 8, 2016

“Judge rejects police request for footage,” The Standard, March 9, 2016