The Court of Second Instance (TSI) Thursday rejected an interim injunction filed by directly-elected lawmaker Sulu Sou Ka Hou requesting the suspension of his peers’ decision to suspend him as a lawmaker.
According to the court’s website, the decision was made during a conference yesterday which assessed Sou’s interim injunction. The conference comprised judges José Cândido de Pinho, Tong Hio Fong and Lai Kin Hong. Lai is the president of the Court of Second Instance.
By late last night the Court of Second Instance had not yet published a document detailing its decision to reject Sou’s interim injunction.
Sou filed the interim injunction with the Court of Second Instance on January 4. Sou also filed an appeal with the Court of Second Instance on January 8 concerning his suspension from the legislature.
Sou confirmed last month that he filed an appeal with the Court of Second Instance over certain legal matters concerning the process and procedure of his suspension as a lawmaker in December.
Following a weeklong delay to give the defence more time to prepare their case, the Court of First Instance (TJB) finally scheduled the trial of Sou and fellow activist Scott Chiang Meng Hin for alleged aggravated disobedience on January 16. However, during the first hearing of the trial on that day, the judge decided to postpone the trial again, as the outcome of a ruling to be made by the Court of Second Instance in response to Sou’s interim injunction could affect the ongoing trial of the case.
During a plenary session on December 4, Sou was suspended from the Legislative Assembly, 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.
According to Article 312 of the Macau Penal Code, aggravated disobedience is punishable by a fine or up to two years behind bars.
During his suspension, Sou continues to receive his salary and fringe benefits he is entitled to as a lawmaker.
According to The Macau Post Daily, 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 TJB judge in charge of Sou’s aggravated disobedience case said last month that if the Court of Second Instance decided to accept Sou’s interim injunction, it would mean that Sou could resume his legislative duties temporarily, which would also mean that the trial could not go ahead during the period when he is carrying out his legislative duties.
The TJB judge also said during the January 16 hearing that the court would decide on the new date of the trial after the Court of Second Instance makes its decision – which happened yesterday.