2011年7月22日星期五

《剛正不阿》之三

崔志英從審裁處調往裁判署做主任裁判官,以當時的編制,只屬平調,並非升職。她只是替代離職的Hugh Boa,Boa離開的原因我不知道,但他有酗酒問題,也試過宿醉上庭,步出法庭期間跌倒地上。Boa離職後留在香港私人執業,之後在往愉景灣的渡輪上暴斃。把崔志英調往新蒲崗,對她是一樁苦差,如果把她調往較偏遠,工作量較少的地方,可能就不會搞出這麼多問題。

Case dismissed 的背後,不論法官、主控官及警察都增加了工作量。崔志英不准押後,撤銷控罪的做法,當然惹來律政司的上訴。崔志英所持的理據是她常掛口邊的:justice delayed is justice denied。這句當然是至理名言,類似Magna Carta的口吻。崔志英用這作為理直氣壯的依據,簡直是廢話。我覺得這是辭窮理屈之下的藉口。以簡單的藏毒案為例,不論先擔保後上庭,或者先上庭後擔保,要等待GCC的結果,所需的時間都是一樣,先上庭再押後等化驗結果,只增加法庭的工作量而不會justice delayed。所以因工作繁忙,引致她的不滿,才是大道理背後的真正原因。

「老同」小案的處理方法,按崔志英的要求,在有驗毒報告之後才落案上庭,是很容易辦到的。但對於嚴重罪案,警方可以拘留被告的權力及時間,都受到極大的限制。很多時候警方都沒有權對被捕的人設定嚴苛的擔保條件,譬如交出旅遊證件,不准離開香港等。有些案件拘捕了疑犯,實在需要很多時間作調查,翻查未偵破案件的關連,安排認人,然後再徵詢律政司意見有關控罪是否恰當,應該在那一級法院審理等,都需要時間來處理。第一次上庭就不准押後,置社會的法治及市民的安全於不顧,怎能夠用Justice來把書命名。譬如叫崔志英審完案即時在庭上頒布詳盡的裁斷陳述書(statement of findings),她做得到嗎?簡單的不難,如果是牽涉複雜法律觀點的,那就並非一蹴即就,道理就像警察把犯了嚴重罪案的犯人帶上庭一樣,絕對有需要申請押後處理。

不是置身其中的人,對於這些匪夷所思的事一定半信半疑。這不單是對標少的憶述存疑,而是一個理應公正不阿,為法治把關的人竟然可以做出這種罔顧法理的事,荒謬得難以置信。首先大家要明白,在1990年之前,大部份中文傳媒都不太看重法庭新聞。長期有駐庭記者的只是南華早報及英文虎報,而且他們主要留守高等法院,偶然才會到裁判署走走。新蒲崗當時只有一位新亞通訊社的記者(賣新聞給報館的),在上午休庭後才到來坐一會,所以事件沒有受到廣泛報導。崔志英放掉持槍行劫庫房的被告時,她已經玩弄權力一段時間,律政司已對其他案件的撤罪提出上訴,上訴未有結果,所以也沒有重點報導。

要核實標少的可信性不太難,找一兩件上訴案來說明便可。有些案例在司法機構的網頁找不到,因為是unreported,要到Law Library 才找得到,我唯有引用Attorney General and Wong Chi-ming and 2 others HCMA141/1988的判辭來說明:

Mr Cross says that Mrs Chui failed to do justice to the Crown and quotes from the judgment of Sir Alan Huggins, V-P in A.G. v. Ip Chong-kwan(7) :
"It is well-established that an exercise of the discretion is a matter of law which can be challenged on appeal, but equally it is clear that this court should not interfere too readily with the exercise of a judge's discretion and should do so only, for example, where it is manifest that the discretion has been exercised unreasonably or where the court order will result in injustice .............................. I think the learned judge was wrong and that injustice did result from the course which she took. Justice must be done to the Crown as well as to the defence,''
Mr Cross also relies on a quotations from the judgments of Kempster, J.A. in A.G. v. TUNG Ying-chuen(8):
"After all, the interests of the community have to be considered as well as those of the individual charged."
And Roberts C.J. (as he then was) in A.G. v. WONG Ho-yung & Anor(9):
".... Further, the principal magistrate appears in one important respect to be under a misapprehension as to the system within which the courts are working.
There is no rule, and indeed there could not be, that the prosecutor must not charge a defendant and bring him before the court, until all the evidence is available to the prosecution. Any experience of the courts will show that in a considerable number of cases, the police would be guilty of a serious dereliction of their duty if they did not bring defendants before the court at an early stage while evidence was still being collected.''
6. Mr Cross contends that this particular Magistrate has taken objection to the Crown obtaining adjournments at all, and that she seems to be seeking to find any point against the Crown obtaining adjournments on the first occasion. He asks that each case be remitted back to the Principal Magistrate with a direction to her to deal with each according to law.

崔志英當時弄權的程度已喪失理智,正如Kempster J.A.在The Queen and Choi Yan Kwong HCMA679/1988一案的批評

Put in the most charitable light Mrs Marjorie Chui...allowed her heart to rule her head.

崔志英在她的書中當然提出自圓其說的講法,這些講法獨立來看也並非沒有道理,有些案件確實押後次數太多。但乾脆一開始就一刀切拒絕押後,撤銷控罪,不單止矯枉過正,簡直是玩忽職守。

第四部份,下回再講。

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