The Court of Second Instance (TSI) said in a statement Sunday that it does not have the authority to rule on political acts and, consequently, it decided not to hear an appeal by lawmaker Sulu Sou Ka Hou against his suspension from the legislature by his peers.
The statement also said that for the same reason it decided last week to reject an interim injunction by Sou against his suspension.
The statement said that the Judicial Organisation Framework Law (LBOJ) does not grant any court in Macau the right to rule on political acts.
According to the statement, the Legislative Assembly’s decision to suspend Sou from the legislature so that he can stand trial for aggravated disobedience was not an administrative but a political act.
Concerning Sou’s case, the statement underlines that Macau’s legal system does not allow the courts to rule on the political acts by the plenum of the legislature. Sou’s suspension was approved by a plenary session of the legislature.
Sou, a member of the non-establishment New Macau Association (NMA), was suspended by his peers from the legislature on December 4, following a request by the Court of First Instance (TJB) to clarify his status a lawmaker, considering that he has been accused of aggravated disobedience during a protest rally outside the chief executive’s official residence in May 2016.
Sou, 26, has been a directly-elected legislator since last year, when he garnered 9,213 votes and became the city’s youngest lawmaker since the establishment of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) in 1999.
Prosecution of offences allegedly committed by a lawmaker that are punishable by less than three years must be authorised by the legislature.
According to Article 312 of the Macau Penal Code, aggravated disobedience is punishable by a fine or up to two years behind bars.
According to the Legislative Assembly Lawmakers Statute, if Sou is sentenced to a prison term of over 30 days, or the equivalent fine, his fellow legislators would have to hold another plenary session to decide whether to expel him from the legislature, in which case a by-election would have to be held.
Sou’s trial for aggravated disobedience by the Court of First Instance has been adjourned sine die, pending the decisions by the Court of Second Instance on his interim injunction and appeal.
Sou has the right to appeal to the Court of Final Appeal (TUI). If he decides to appeal, the aggravated disobedience trial can be expected to only go ahead after the Court of Final Appeal’s ruling on the appeal.
Sou told reporters last night that he would decide soon whether to file an appeal