David Perry QC challenged by senior legal figures for taking on case against pro-democracy activists
The top criminal silk who agreed to run the prosecution of pro-democracy campaigners in Hong Kong has now reportedly pulled out of the case following “growing pressure and criticism from the UK community”.
David Perry QC of 6KBW College Hill had been instructed by Hong Kong’s justice department to prosecute media mogul Jimmy Lai and eight other pro-democracy activists accused of taking part in a 2019 anti-government protest.
In a statement today the Hong Kong government said there had been “growing pressure and criticism from the UK community directed at Mr Perry QC for his involvement in this case”.
“Mr Perry QC expressed concerns about such pressures and the exemption of quarantine, and indicated that the trial should proceed without him. In light of the public interest involved and the imminent trial date the Deportment of Justice has instructed another counsel to prosecute the trial as scheduled.”
Perry’s decision to accept the brief drew criticism from senior legal figures and politicians, including UK foreign secretary and former Linklaters lawyer, Dominic Raab, who described Perry’s decision as “mercenary”. Baroness Helena Kennedy QC of Doughty Street Chambers and director of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute had said Perry’s decision would become “a source of shame”.
It is alleged the protestors disregarded police orders by turning an approved assembly into a march, which was not permitted.
All nine defendants were charged jointly with two offences: organising an unauthorised assembly and knowingly taking part in an unauthorised assembly. The trial is set for 16 February.
Perry has been approached for comment.