Update: HK media warned against publishing prejudicial bail details on defendants

May 12, 2016

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

May 13, 2016 (South China Morning Post) —

The Department of Justice has warned it will prosecute media outlets that run reports of bail negotiations and defendants’ criminal records, despite dropping charges against two local Chinese papers over an alleged contravention. It also made clear in a statement the importance of banning such reports to prevent prejudicing members of public who could be potential jurors.

This came after Fanling Court dismissed five summonses against Apple Daily and its editor-in-chief, Chan Pui-man, and Ming Pao Daily over an alleged breach of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance (Cap 221).

A subsection (9P) of the ordinance states that only the offence and names of the defendant, court and judge as well as the result of the bail proceedings – including conditions when bail is granted – and the next hearing date are permissible for publication in reports on such proceedings.

Contravention is punishable by a fine of HK$50,000 and six years’ imprisonment.

Full story here.

Department of Justice 20160512 statement