Protest inquest jury disbands over language barrier - RTHK
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Protest inquest jury disbands over language barrier

2021-05-10 HKT 16:24
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  • Coroner David Ko disbanded the five-member jury after one of them said she could not fully understand Cantonese. File photo: RTHK
    Coroner David Ko disbanded the five-member jury after one of them said she could not fully understand Cantonese. File photo: RTHK
Violet Wong reports
The jury at an inquest into the death of a protester was disbanded just hours after the hearing began on Monday, when one of the five jurors told the court she couldn’t fully understand Cantonese.

Coroner David Ko said he would resume the hearing on Tuesday and would select another five jurors from a random pool.

The inquest, to be conducted in Cantonese rather than English, is aimed at determining the cause of the death of Marco Leung. He fell from a shopping mall in Admiralty on June 15, 2019, during an anti-government protest.

Ko said he had considered continuing the inquest with just four jurors, but decided it was better to start anew considering the nature of the inquest, which will summon a total of 21 witnesses a 12-day hearing.

Meanwhile, the coroner noted that Leung’s family – who had called for an inquest – was not in attendance as the police could not get in touch with them.

The court was shown statements from officers who tried to locate the family after they were absent from a pre-inquest review the court held in late February.

Officers learnt the family had moved out of their Yuen Long flat in August 2019, two months after the 35-year-old’s death.

Ko said the court will still be presented with statements from Leung’s parents and sister that were given at an earlier time.

Before the jury was dissolved, the court heard from a police officer who handled the case that there were no notices warning people not to approach a construction platform on the fourth floor of Pacific Place, from which Leung fell.

News footage played in court indicated that the man had climbed up the metal scaffolding, hours before he crawled out of the structure and fell to the pavement, near an air cushion firefighters had set up.

A government scientific evidence officer, Sze Wai-kit, who made a three-dimensional map of the scene, told the court that Leung had fallen a distance of 17 metres.