Saturday, November 28, 2015   

Ex-TVB boss wins new fight but war goes on

Winnie Chong

Friday, March 08, 2013


For the second time in less than two years, former TVB general manager Stephen Chan Chi-wan walked out of court a free man - only to be told that his legal battles are far from over.

Within minutes of a decision by District Court judge Poon Siu- tung maintaining his 2011 ruling to acquit Chan of all bribery charges, the Department of Justice said it will appeal.

Chan was accused of accepting more than HK$110,000 from Olympian City in 2009 to appear in a countdown event at the mall, without informing his then employer, TVB.

But Poon insisted Chan had reason to believe TVB was fully aware of - and consented to - his accepting outside jobs.

He was acquitted at an earlier hearing but retried following an appeal by the justice department.

In his judgment, Poon said the broadcaster had never previously objected to Chan taking freelance jobs, even when he did not seek prior approval.

The judge also said the statement by Chan's supervisor, Mark Lee Po-on, that he would have objected to Chan taking the job at Olympian City had he been informed beforehand was "completely contrary to common sense" and "illogical."

Poon said everyone at TVB knew that Chan would take part in the countdown event in which TVB was also a participant.

He said Chan would never have risked accepting a small payment of HK$112,000 if he suspected TVB would have objected.

Poon said the court should not adopt a "perfect person" standard in judging a person's behavior.

Instead, the court should treat Chan as an ordinary person. And, according to this standard, Poon agreed that Chan had reasonable excuse.

The Department of Justice said it will take the case to the Appeal Court.

"We have considered the judge's reasons and do not consider that the judge has correctly addressed the evidence and/or the relevant legal principles," a spokesman said.

The justice department will have to submit its rationale to Poon within seven days for his response, which will then be passed to lawyers representing the prosecution and defendant for further testimony and to wait for a hearing arrangement at the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal has the right to convict or not convict Chan directly.

Chan's right-hand man, Edthancy Tseng Pei- kun, who was also acquitted, said he feels tired and hopes the matter will just end.

Senior Counsel Alan Leong Kah-kit said he is surprised that Chan and Tseng were acquitted.

Leong said the judge had not fully complied with the legal principles handed down by the higher court to consider "reasonable excuse."

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