American Lawyer Appeals to Hong Kong’s Top Court After Serving Jail Time and Deportation

U.S. lawyer Samuel Bickett Vows to ‘Never Give Up’ on Overturning Wrongful ConvictionAn American corporate lawyer who was deported from Hong Kong after serving prison time for assaulting a plainclothes police officer during the 2019 protests said he has applied to the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal to continue challenging his conviction. Samuel Phillip Bickett, 38, a former compliance director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, was charged with “assaulting a police officer” during the Anti-Extradition Law Movement in 2019 and was sentenced to four and a half months in prison. Although Bickett completed his prison sentence, he maintains his innocence and said the prosecution was politically motivated. Even after being deported to the United States in late March, he says he intends to challenge his conviction up to the Court of Final Appeal. On April 24, Bickett said on Twitter that he had officially applied to the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal to “appeal [his] wrongful 2021 conviction.” Although not optimistic, he said that “it would be the first Court of Final Appeal hearing directly addressing police abuses during the 2019 unrest.” Meanwhile, he encourages donations to his cause as the appeal could cost up to $89,000. “Some may wonder why I am bothering to appeal now. I have already completed my prison sentence, the Hong Kong authorities have expelled me from the city, and the city’s justice system is in shambles. But as a lawyer and advocate for the rule of law, I am determined to fight using every means possible to hold those responsible for my mistreatment accountable for their actions. This appeal is the next step in that effort,” Bickett explained in his statement on Twitter. Bickett: Defendant’s Point of View Not Considered by the Courts The appeal documents (pdf) raised many questions and pointed out procedural anomalies during his hearing. For example, neither the trial court nor the Court of First Instance considered the rationality of self-defense from the defendant’s perspective, but instead focused on the motives of off-duty police officer Yu Shu-sang. Also, the courts appeared biased in many instances. Bickett, the former compliance director at Bank of America Securities, was on his way to dinner in late 2019 when he saw a man hitting a teenager with an extendable baton and stopped to intervene. The assailant turned out to be an off-duty police officer but did not identify himself as such when repeatedly asked, the Washington Post reported. The man in the altercation with the teenager was later identified as Yu Shu-sang. Footage shows him later lunging at Bickett, the defendant, with his baton in his right hand before falling over a railing. Bickett then attempts to wrestle Yu’s baton away, pinning and hitting him in what Bickett said was an act of self-defense. Yu never produced a warrant card and identified himself as a police officer only after arresting Bickett, according to the report. Bickett’s Sentence Bickett served more than six weeks behind bars before the High Court granted him bail last August pending his appeal, but he returned to jail in February to serve the remainder of his sentence after the court dismissed his appeal, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported. Following the court’s decision, Bickett served another six weeks before he applied for early release on the grounds of good behavior, successfully reducing his original 4 and a half month sentence by one-third. The High Court rejected Bickett’s self-defense claim. Instead, the judge found it “entirely natural and appropriate” for the officer to strike the defendant with the metal rod to stop the latter from snatching the weapon, especially when he was overpowered and outnumbered by a hostile crowd, according to SCMP. Follow

American Lawyer Appeals to Hong Kong’s Top Court After Serving Jail Time and Deportation

U.S. lawyer Samuel Bickett Vows to ‘Never Give Up’ on Overturning Wrongful Conviction

An American corporate lawyer who was deported from Hong Kong after serving prison time for assaulting a plainclothes police officer during the 2019 protests said he has applied to the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal to continue challenging his conviction.

Samuel Phillip Bickett, 38, a former compliance director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, was charged with “assaulting a police officer” during the Anti-Extradition Law Movement in 2019 and was sentenced to four and a half months in prison.

Although Bickett completed his prison sentence, he maintains his innocence and said the prosecution was politically motivated. Even after being deported to the United States in late March, he says he intends to challenge his conviction up to the Court of Final Appeal.

On April 24, Bickett said on Twitter that he had officially applied to the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal to “appeal [his] wrongful 2021 conviction.” Although not optimistic, he said that “it would be the first Court of Final Appeal hearing directly addressing police abuses during the 2019 unrest.”

Meanwhile, he encourages donations to his cause as the appeal could cost up to $89,000.

“Some may wonder why I am bothering to appeal now. I have already completed my prison sentence, the Hong Kong authorities have expelled me from the city, and the city’s justice system is in shambles. But as a lawyer and advocate for the rule of law, I am determined to fight using every means possible to hold those responsible for my mistreatment accountable for their actions. This appeal is the next step in that effort,” Bickett explained in his statement on Twitter.

Bickett: Defendant’s Point of View Not Considered by the Courts

The appeal documents (pdf) raised many questions and pointed out procedural anomalies during his hearing. For example, neither the trial court nor the Court of First Instance considered the rationality of self-defense from the defendant’s perspective, but instead focused on the motives of off-duty police officer Yu Shu-sang. Also, the courts appeared biased in many instances.

Bickett, the former compliance director at Bank of America Securities, was on his way to dinner in late 2019 when he saw a man hitting a teenager with an extendable baton and stopped to intervene. The assailant turned out to be an off-duty police officer but did not identify himself as such when repeatedly asked, the Washington Post reported.

The man in the altercation with the teenager was later identified as Yu Shu-sang. Footage shows him later lunging at Bickett, the defendant, with his baton in his right hand before falling over a railing. Bickett then attempts to wrestle Yu’s baton away, pinning and hitting him in what Bickett said was an act of self-defense. Yu never produced a warrant card and identified himself as a police officer only after arresting Bickett, according to the report.

Bickett’s Sentence

Bickett served more than six weeks behind bars before the High Court granted him bail last August pending his appeal, but he returned to jail in February to serve the remainder of his sentence after the court dismissed his appeal, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.

Following the court’s decision, Bickett served another six weeks before he applied for early release on the grounds of good behavior, successfully reducing his original 4 and a half month sentence by one-third.

The High Court rejected Bickett’s self-defense claim. Instead, the judge found it “entirely natural and appropriate” for the officer to strike the defendant with the metal rod to stop the latter from snatching the weapon, especially when he was overpowered and outnumbered by a hostile crowd, according to SCMP.

Raven Wu

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