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Source: Hong Kong Information Services

Personal attacks and insults against judges would severely undermine the authority of the courts and damage public confidence in the judicial system, the Department of Justice said today.

It made the statement in response to vandalism outside the High Court Building and criticism against a judge today, stressing that judicial independence is an essential element of the rule of law.

It said the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government respects the freedom of speech of individuals.

Members of the public have the right to express their views on court decisions and related matters within the boundary permitted by the law.

The statement also quoted the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal’s remarks at last year’s ceremonial opening of the legal year as saying: “It is no part of a court’s function or duty to adjudicate on political or social issues, nor economic ones, whether siding with one extreme or another, or finding some sort of middle ground to solve the community’s political, social or economic concerns.

“Rather, at all times, the court is concerned with dealing with one aspect and one aspect only: a resolution of the legal issues arising in the dispute before it.”

The statement pointed out that any person who is dissatisfied with court decisions may lodge appeals through the existing mechanism and should not criticise judges abusively or impute them of political bias, otherwise, the rule of law in Hong Kong would be undermined.

Meanwhile, Police strongly condemned such an unlawful act which defies the spirit of the law and stressed that it has classified the case as criminal damage and will enforce the law impartially.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News