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Ho Chio Meng sentence confirmed

Judge denies appeal to Court of Final Instance

An appeal by the defence of former Prosecutor-general Ho Chio Meng has been denied by the judge in question, causing his official sentence to go forward, according to a release by the Court of Final Instance (TUI). Although the appeal took place on August 15, the official information was not released until yesterday on the court’s website.
The former official was sentenced to 21 years in prison, having been accused of over 1,500 crimes relating to abuse of power, fraud, money laundering and forming a criminal association. In addition, Ho was fined MOP18 million for illegally awarding contracts.
The former official headed the Public Prosecutions Office from 1999 to 2014. He was taken into custody in February 2016 and his trial began in February of this year, with the sentence being handed down on July 14.
The court received the defence’s appeal on August 4, however the appeal was denied because it ‘assumes the existence of a judicial body with the power to evaluate and make judgements in a higher court’.
The decision by the judge also refers back to the corruption case of former Secretary of Transport and Public Works Ao Man Long, stating that ‘when the Legislative Assembly approved law no: 9/2009 to introduce alterations to the Basic Law of Judicial Organization, in 2009, the question of appeal was not touched upon. Therefore a judicial gap does not exist that could be filled by the [appeal to be judged in a higher court]’.
This comes about due to the defence’s argument that the legislators, when deciding on the changes to the judicial framework, should have also introduced clauses so that the court could not accept appeals, given that it is the highest court in the MSAR. However, given that it can, the lawyers requested the creation of an ad hoc court to evaluate the appeal, but this was denied.
The judge’s sentence of 21 years therefore, goes forward.