Suspended directly-elected lawmaker Sulu Sou Ka Hou and fellow non-establishment activist Scott Chiang Meng Hin have each filed an appeal against last month’s ruling by the Court of First Instance (TJB) which found the duo guilty of illegal assembly and demonstration, the Court of Final Appeal (TUI) said in a statement Tuesday.
According to the statement, the two defendants submitted their appeals to the Court of First Instance by fax on Monday – the deadline for them to appeal their TJB sentences. The statement added that the duo then submitted the original copies of their appeals yesterday.
The Court of First Instance found Sou and Chiang on May 29 guilty of illegal assembly and demonstration and fined them 40,800 patacas and 27,600 patacas respectively.
The two defendants initially faced aggravated disobedience charges as the police accused them of disobeying their orders during a demonstration on May 15, 2016 against the public Macau Foundation’s controversial decision to donate 100 million yuan (122 million patacas) to Jinan University in Guangzhou. The duo allegedly committed the crime of aggravated disobedience outside the official residence of Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On in a verbal confrontation with the police on Penha Hill.
After the announcement of the sentences on May 29, both the prosecution and the defence could appeal the TJB ruling within 20 working days.
The statement did not mention whether the Public Prosecution Office (MP) appealed the two sentences.
According to the Legislative Assembly Lawmakers Statute, if Sou had been sentenced to a prison term of over 30 days, his fellow legislators would have been required to hold a plenary session to decide whether to expel him from the legislature, in which case a by-election would have to be held.
During a plenary session on December 4 last year, Sou was suspended from the Legislative Assembly (AL), when 28 of the 33 members of the legislature voted for his suspension so that he could stand trial for alleged aggravated disobedience.
Meanwhile, Sou told Radio Macau, the Portuguese-language radio channel of government-owned broadcaster TDM, Tuesday that he might eventually withdraw his appeal which he described as a “strategic” move by his lawyer.
Radio Macau also quoted the Court of First Instance as saying that it had not received any appeal from the Public Prosecution Office concerning the two sentences.
According to The Macau Post Daily if the original sentence is declared definite, Sou could resume his seat in the legislature.