The Court of Second Instance (TSI) has ordered the retrial of political activist Scott Chiang Meng Hin, quashing last year’s ruling by the Court of First Instance (TJB) on the case.
The TSI ruling quoted António Dias Azedo, the judge-rapporteur in the case, as saying that the lower court’s ruling was quashed as it had failed to give Chiang’s defence counsel the chance to respond to the accusation of illegal demonstration which was only announced at the very end of his trial.
In the TJB trial, Chiang had initially been accused of aggravated disobedience but then was sentenced for participation in an illegal demonstration. Both Chiang and his lawyer only learnt of the change in accusation when the sentence was announced in May last year.
Chiang had appealed the lower court’s ruling, which sentenced him to a fine of 27,600 patacas.
Chiang’s co-defendant in the TJB trial, lawmaker Sulu Sou Ka Hou, was sentenced for the same crime but he refrained from appealing so that he could return as soon as possible to his seat in the Legislative Assembly (AL) which had been suspended during the trial. Sou appealed his fine.
Friday’s TSI statement released through the Macau Government Information Bureau (GCS) pointed out that Sou’s lower-court sentence has meanwhile become final.
Chiang and Sou are members of the non-establishment New Macau Association (NMA). Sou is the group’s only lawmaker. Unlike Sou, Chiang is no longer a frontline activist.
No date has been set for the retrial by the Court of First Instance.