Uproar over light sentence of Hong Kong judge's niece

note — June 28, 2013
Part of a direct quote in this article was inadvertently omitted.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Amina Mariam Bokhary was sentenced to one year of probation and a fine of 8000 Hong Kong dollars with her driving licence suspended for assaulting a police officer and drink-driving. According to the judge, Anthony Yuen, the light sentence is due to the defendant's mental illness. Both the police and the public have criticized the light sentence. Bokhary is the niece of Hong Kong judge Kemal Bokhary.

The police urged the Secretary for Justice to review the sentence. Kevin Zervos said that Yuen should reconsider the sentence. Politician Ronny Tong 'called for clarification over sentencing standards', according to The Standard.

Police Inspectors' Association chairman Liu Kit-ming said that the police were worried about this case as well as future treatment of such cases. He also said that the case may give the impression that the rich are punished less severely in court. 'We are not pointing at Bokhary nor do we hope she can be imprisoned. What we are concerned about most is guidelines for similar cases,' said Liu.

Around 300 citizens took to the streets to protest against the light sentence. They wore black shirts, symbolising 'the law of Hong Kong is dead'. The organizer of the protest, an IVE student named Lo, said that the sentence was unjust and that it was 'hard to believe that there was no [translation missing]'. The protest was criticised by Democratic Party founder Martin Lee, who was a barrister himself. He believes it would lead to the fall of Hong Kong's orderly justice system and the rise of mob rule.

Lee went on to say that her mental illness was not discovered until the most recent sentence. He believes that going to prison will only worsen the situation and that Bokhary should be treated, not imprisoned. Bokhary's lawyer, Peter Duncan, denied that the light sentence was related to Bokhary's wealth. Yuen said that a jail term would 'destroy the rest of the defendant's life'.