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Speaker asks court to postpone lawmaker’s trial

2017-11-15 07:57     Comment:0

Legislative Assembly (AL) President Ho Iat Seng said yesterday that he had requested the Court of First Instance (TJB) to postpone the date of the trial of directly-elected lawmaker Sulu Sou Ka Hou for alleged aggravated disobedience.

Ho spoke to reporters after Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On presented his 2018 Policy Address in a plenary session yesterday.

Ho said in a statement on Monday that the House Rules Committee would study and announce its decision by Monday on a request by the court to suspend Sou from the legislature so that he can be put on trial for the alleged crime. The trial is slated to begin on November 28, according to the statement.

Sou’s suspension would allow the trial to go ahead.

Ho’s statement said that the legislature received the court’s request on November 7.

According to the statement, the House Rules Committee will hold a meeting tomorrow to assess the request.

Prosecution of offences allegedly committed by a lawmaker that are punishable by less than three years must be authorised by the legislature, according to the Legislative Assembly Lawmakers Statute.

According to the statute, after the House Rules Committee has made the decision, the matter would then have to be discussed by a plenary session, to decide whether Sou should be suspended.

According to Article 312 of the Macau Penal Code, aggravated disobedience is punishable by up to two years behind bars.

According to judicial sources, Sou and fellow activist Scott Chiang Meng Hin stand accused of aggravated disobedience in the wake of a demonstration last year against the Macau Foundation’s decision to donate 100 million yuan to Jinan University in Guangzhou. After the demonstration, which had been authorised by the authorities, some of the demonstrators reportedly disobeyed police orders not to walk to an area outside the official residence of the chief executive on Penha Hill. The police accused the protesters at that time of various crimes such as taking part in an illegal gathering and causing public disorder.


Speaking to reporters yesterday, Ho said that he had sent a request to the court to postpone the trial until next month, as it would be impossible to arrange a plenary session about the matter until then because the legislature has already a scheduled agenda for plenary sessions every day before the November 28 trial date, such as the 2018 portfolio guidelines to be presented by the government’s five policy secretaries.


According to Ho, Sou will be suspended if more than half of the legislature’s members vote for the request in a plenary session on the matter.


Ho noted that if Sou is suspended, he will still remain a lawmaker. “The legislature will still need to pay him a salary,” he said.
According to the lawmaker’s statute, the suspension of a lawmaker means that the lawmaker is suspended from carrying out his or her duties, such as attending meetings in the legislature.


Sou is the only lawmaker of the anti-establishment New Macau Association (NMA

Wong


Legislative Assembly (AL) President Ho Iat Seng speaks to reporters in the legislative chamber yesterday. Photo: Tony Wong


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