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Tutorial - Topic 1: Hong Kong Legal System

Case 1
Peter was caught red-handed stealing from a cashier counter. He was arrested by the
Police. When questioned by the Police, he decided to remain silence. Did he have the
right to remain silence? The case was heard in the Magistrate. He pleaded not guilty
to the charge and did not give evidence in the court. Can the court comment against
Peter’s conduct in not giving evidence in the court? What is the legal principle behind
all these?

Case 2
James and Bond had a fight. James tried to hit Bond with a golf club. He missed and
the golf club hit the Mercedes that Bond recently purchased. The car was damaged
and the repair cost was HK$140,000. James was convicted on criminal damage to the
Mercedes. Bond would like to sue James for loss and damage. Advise Bond as to
strength of the case. What are the main differences in hearing the case at Small Claim
Tribunal as compared with District Court? What are the ways to settle a dispute?
What is the best option in this case?

Case 3
1. E was charged on theft. What are the main differences if the case was heard at
the Magistrate as compared with that at the District Court?
2. Would it make any difference to sentencing if E pleaded guilty to the charge?
3. At the first hearing in the Magistrate, E pleading not guilty to the charge.
Subsequently at the commencement of the trial, could E plead guilty? Or, until
when would plead guilty make no difference to sentencing?
4. E was later sentenced to 12 months of imprisonment. E was in custody for 2
months before sentencing. Could these 2 months be deducted from the
custodial sentence? Why?
5. If E behaved well while in prison, when would he be released?

Case 4
If someone exposes his private parts inside his/her premises facing a window, will he
commits a crime on Indecency in Public? s148 of Crimes Ordinance states “(1) A
person who, without lawful authority or excuse, in any public place or in view of the
public indecently exposes any part of his body shall be guilty of an offence and shall be
liable on conviction to a fine of $1000 and to imprisonment for 6 months. (2) A person
under the age of 12 shall not be guilty of an offence under subsection (1) by reason only
of his bathing unclothed.”

Case 5
In criminal proceedings, it is for the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt.

Case 6 [2012-2013 (10 marks)]

In a construction dispute between the main contractor (a local company registered in
Hong Kong) and the sub-contractor (a Japanese company registered in Japan), the
main contractor claimed against the sub-contractor on loss and damage in the sum of
HK$400,000,000. The parties decided to settle the dispute through arbitration. How to
commence the arbitration proceedings? Why arbitration is a popular venue for this
type of dispute?

Case 7
F was in need of money ($8M) to clear his debts. So, he sold his flat at a knock down
price of $6M and E bought the flat from him. When E received the flat, all toilets and
shower tubs were found broken. F did not admit liability and/or causing the damage.
In fact, F was at the verge of bankrupt. What could E do?
s60 of Crime Ordinance (Cap 200): Destroying or damaging property
1) A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging
to another intending to destroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to
whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged shall be guilty of an
(2) A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property, whether
belonging to himself or another-
(a) intending to destroy or damage any property or being reckless as to whether any
property would be destroyed or damaged; and
(b) intending by the destruction or damage to endanger the life of another or being
reckless as to whether the life of another would be thereby endangered,
shall be guilty of an offence.