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Court postpones lawmaker’s disobedience trial

The Court of First Instance (TJB) said in a statement Monday that it has approved a request to postpone the date of the trial of directly-elected lawmaker Sulu Sou Ka Hou and fellow non-establishment activist Scott Chiang Meng Hin for alleged aggravated disobedience, from today as previously scheduled to Tuesday next week.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:46 am

The Court of First Instance (TJB) said in a statement Monday that it has approved a request to postpone the date of the trial of directly-elected lawmaker Sulu Sou Ka Hou and fellow non-establishment activist Scott Chiang Meng Hin for alleged aggravated disobedience, from today as previously scheduled to Tuesday next week.

The court approved to postpone the trial date in response to an urgent request by the duo’s recently-hired defence lawyer who would need time to prepare for the trial.

The New Macau Association (NMA) said in a statement on Sunday that Sou and Chiang had hired local Portuguese lawyer Jorge Menezes as their counsel for their trial.

Sou and Chiang are members of the grassroots association which was established in 1992.

According to The Macau Post Daily, in early December, Sou was suspended from the Legislative Assembly (AL), when 28 of the 33 members of the legislature voted for his suspension so that he can stand trial for the alleged crime.

It is the first suspension of a lawmaker since the establishment of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) in December 1999.

The legislature said in a statement on November 13 that the Court of First Instance had requested the legislature to make a decision on whether Sou was to be suspended as a lawmaker so that he could stand trial for the alleged crime.

Prosecution of offences allegedly committed by a lawmaker that are punishable by less than three years must be authorised by the legislature.

Sou and Chiang stand accused of aggravated disobedience in the wake of a demonstration in May 2016 against the public Macau Foundation’s controversial decision to donate 100 million yuan (122 million patacas) to Jinan University in Guangzhou.

The NMA statement on Sunday said that “in view of the tight time frame as well as the importance and profound implications the case may have”, the duo’s lawyer had urgently requested the court to postpone the trial date for the case, as he would need time to read all the documents related to the trial, for the translation of the related documents (into Portuguese), and for him to prepare for the defence.

Menezes is a local Portuguese member of the Macau Lawyers Association (AAM).

The Public Prosecution Office (MP) decided to prosecute Sou and Chiang for the alleged crime in March last year.

According to a document detailing the court’s decision to postpone the trial date issued Monday by the judge of the case, Cheong Weng Tong, the Court of First Instance notified the two defendants in June last year about the trial of the case.

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:46 am

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