Macau | Illegal protest cannot constitute "separate criminal offence" - Sulu Sou defence team

The crime of organising illegal protest for which Sulu Sou Ka Hou, a local legislator currently suspended, was found guilty of on May 29 cannot constitute “a separate criminal offence,” a source from his defence team told MNA on Monday

Macau (MNA) – The crime of organising illegal protest for which Sulu Sou Ka Hou, a local legislator currently suspended, was found guilty of on May 29 cannot constitute “a separate criminal offence,” a source from his defence team told Macau News Agency (MNA) on Monday.

“[Illegal protest] is not an autonomous crime, it only exists in conjunction with the crime of disobedience, so that nobody can be punished for such crime,” the defence source told MNA.

“In addition, if it were a crime, it would be unconstitutional for violation of the Basic Law since it is very broad and does not specifically describe the prohibited and punished conduct, which violates the principle of legality of the criminal law,” the defence claimed.

In a statement released on Sunday, Mr. Sou contended his right to request the annulment of the court decision which found him and former President of the New Macau Association (NMA) guilty of the crime of illegal reunion, counter arguing that he was suspended by the AL and had his parliamentary immunity lifted so that he could be judged for the crime of aggravated disobedience.

‘I was not found guilty or tried for that purported offence. Although my lawyer is still waiting for the translation of the court judgment, we learned that the court tried me for, and found me guilty of, a different offence: of organising an illegal protest,’ the suspended legislator wrote in yesterday’s statement.

Translation delays

The person from the defence team who spoke to MNA said additionally that they have not yet decided on the appeal with one of the reasons for holding on the decision being that the Portuguese translation of the court verdict had not been received as of today.

The court had previously stated that they would not provide the Portuguese version of the decision, declaring it is at its discretion to choose which official language – Chinese or Portuguese – it wants to use in its proceedings.

Having requested the translation from a private service, the defence representative said it does know when it will receive the document but claimed that it “will have to come” before the deadline for appeal, on June 19.

“This is complicated because more than half of the target time has passed and we still have no sentence translated because the court did not do it, despite having the means to do it,” said the source.

Appeal?

In the event that the defence proceeds to an appeal until next Tuesday our source claims that one of the arguments they will use is “that the court could not have tried Sulu Sou for a crime other than that on the basis of which AL said he would be tried, since immunity was imposed for that crime.”

In addition, the representative claimed “it is difficult to foresee the court’s decision in matters in which there is no jurisprudence” when appealing for the annulment of the sentence.

In his statement, Mr. Sou declared that he had been informed by his lawyer that the trial and the sentence have ‘breached the law,’ thus being ‘null and void.’

‘If the court wanted to change the crime, it should have informed the AL and wait for my immunity to be lifted concerning that other offence, as immunity is not lifted as a “blank cheque”,’ the legislator wrote, adding the two offences are ‘quite different.’

‘In one there is disobedience to an authority’s legitimate order; in the other a breach of a set of rules on how to carry out protests,’ said Mr. Sou.

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