A judge reminded a university student that bringing a lawsuit to the High Court is no game and that the plaintiff could face financial consequences as serious as bankruptcy if he is found to have made wrongful accusations.
During a hearing Thursday in an Occupy-related case, High Court judge Mohan Bharwaney warned Li Cheuk-hin, a City University of Hong Kong student, that the young man could suffer harsh penalties if it is deemed that he filed a frivolous lawsuit against the police.
The judge, hearing the case in which Li had sought millions of dollars in compensation from the police over an alleged attack in 2014, said he doubts whether the suffering claimed by the plaintiff, who did not appear in the court Thursday, justified his monetary claim.
Li, currently a senior at City University, filed a lawsuit in 2015 in the High Court against the commissioner of police and sought compensation of HK$12 million (US$1.54 million), claiming he was assaulted by the police in Mong Kok during the Occupy pro-democracy campaign in 2014.
Li said in a writ that he was attacked by several policemen at the crossroads of Argyle Street and Tung Choi Street in the early hours of December 1, and that he suffered grievous bodily harm as a result.
One policeman grabbed him by the genitals and caused him excruciating pain, Li alleged. He also claimed that he lost his backpack which contained a purse, documents, a camera and some cash, saying the policemen threw it away when they tried to arrest him.
But judge Bharwaney said on Thursday that evidence suggests that Li only suffered scratches on his hands in the 2014 incident, and not serious injuries, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Only those who suffer very serious injuries, which may result in problems such as paralysis, can claim more than HK$10 million in compensation, he said.
The judge lashed out at Li, saying that he should know that a case like this would not have been brought to the High Court if the plaintiff had a “little bit of brain”.
Li could face a stiff “disciplinary fee” if he loses the lawsuit, the judge warned.
“Take your demonstration to the street, not my court,” the judge said, according to Ming Pao Daily.
Scheduling a next hearing for July 21, the judge demanded that Li and his family show up in court at that time.
Li’s lawyer, meanwhile, was told to provide the rationale for the claims and also submit Li’s academic records.
If the plaintiff fails to do so, the case will be dismissed and forwarded to the District Court, the judge said.
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