Court Prosecutor Fired Over Criticizing Police for Lying, Now Seeks Judicial Review

William Wong Wa-fun, Senior Court Prosecutor II of the Department of Justice (DoJ), Hong Kong, who, in his internal email, accused the police of “blatant lying” during the anti-extradition movement and who was accused of calling on colleagues to participate in the banned candlelight vigil on June 4, 2020, was placed under disciplinary inquiry and found guilty of two counts of misconduct. In March this year (2024), he was summarily dismissed from his post and stripped of his pension entitlement by the Civil Service Bureau (CSB). Mr. Wong applied to the High Court on June 6 for judicial review, seeking to overturn the decision.The writ indicates William Wong Wa-fun as the applicant and the Secretary for the CSB as the respondent. The writ stated that Mr. Wong became a court prosecutor in October 1992 and was promoted to the Senior Court Prosecutor II in 2004. He was suspended in March 2021 and was placed under internal disciplinary inquiry by the CSB between January 2022 and April 2023. In July 2023, he was found guilty of two counts of misconduct, and was dismissed this year and stripped of his pension entitlement built up over nearly 30 years.Wong: No Intention to Blame the PoliceAccording to the writ, Mr. Wong was involved in three charges, which included sending an email from his official account to the then Secretary for Justice, the Director of Public Prosecutions, and all DoJ staff on Sept. 2, 2019, alleging “unwarranted allegations” against the police force, thus violating the “political neutrality” provisions as stipulated in the Civil Service Code, and the Prosecution Code.On June 4, 2020, he sent an email to other prosecutors from his official account, which was deemed to be “seemingly” inviting colleagues to participate in activities that would violate social distancing, which was a conflict of interest with his duties as a prosecutor. On Dec. 24 of the same year, he sent an email to the police, which was considered to have overstepped the then Senior Court Prosecutor I of the Eastern District Court, conflicted with his duties, and violated civil service regulations.After the disciplinary inquiry, Mr. Wong was found guilty of the first two charges but not the third one and was dismissed with immediate effect.The writ also mentioned that Mr. Wong had served as a prosecutor and an auxiliary police officer for 35 years and had often cooperated and worked with police officers. The email was sent out with good intentions, advising the police not to make unprofessional mistakes, and it was not an accusation against the police. As for the “June 4” email, he only called on colleagues to observe the online memorial service. However, the inquiry panel refused to accept his explanations.Mr. Wong queried the inquiry panel’s misinterpretation of the prosecution code and misplaced the burden of proof on him for “making unfounded accusations.” The use of the word “seemingly” by the committee shows that the charges were vague, and Mr. Wong believed it was unconstitutional too. In addition, he believed that, as he was unable to cross-examine the original key witness, he did not receive a fair trial. He believed that the CSB’s decision to impose dismissal and to strip him of his pension entitlement was one of the most serious disciplinary actions, which was harsh.Related Stories

Court Prosecutor Fired Over Criticizing Police for Lying, Now Seeks Judicial Review

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William Wong Wa-fun, Senior Court Prosecutor II of the Department of Justice (DoJ), Hong Kong, who, in his internal email, accused the police of “blatant lying” during the anti-extradition movement and who was accused of calling on colleagues to participate in the banned candlelight vigil on June 4, 2020, was placed under disciplinary inquiry and found guilty of two counts of misconduct. In March this year (2024), he was summarily dismissed from his post and stripped of his pension entitlement by the Civil Service Bureau (CSB). Mr. Wong applied to the High Court on June 6 for judicial review, seeking to overturn the decision.

The writ indicates William Wong Wa-fun as the applicant and the Secretary for the CSB as the respondent. The writ stated that Mr. Wong became a court prosecutor in October 1992 and was promoted to the Senior Court Prosecutor II in 2004. He was suspended in March 2021 and was placed under internal disciplinary inquiry by the CSB between January 2022 and April 2023. In July 2023, he was found guilty of two counts of misconduct, and was dismissed this year and stripped of his pension entitlement built up over nearly 30 years.

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Wong: No Intention to Blame the Police

According to the writ, Mr. Wong was involved in three charges, which included sending an email from his official account to the then Secretary for Justice, the Director of Public Prosecutions, and all DoJ staff on Sept. 2, 2019, alleging “unwarranted allegations” against the police force, thus violating the “political neutrality” provisions as stipulated in the Civil Service Code, and the Prosecution Code.

On June 4, 2020, he sent an email to other prosecutors from his official account, which was deemed to be “seemingly” inviting colleagues to participate in activities that would violate social distancing, which was a conflict of interest with his duties as a prosecutor. On Dec. 24 of the same year, he sent an email to the police, which was considered to have overstepped the then Senior Court Prosecutor I of the Eastern District Court, conflicted with his duties, and violated civil service regulations.

After the disciplinary inquiry, Mr. Wong was found guilty of the first two charges but not the third one and was dismissed with immediate effect.

The writ also mentioned that Mr. Wong had served as a prosecutor and an auxiliary police officer for 35 years and had often cooperated and worked with police officers. The email was sent out with good intentions, advising the police not to make unprofessional mistakes, and it was not an accusation against the police. As for the “June 4” email, he only called on colleagues to observe the online memorial service. However, the inquiry panel refused to accept his explanations.

Mr. Wong queried the inquiry panel’s misinterpretation of the prosecution code and misplaced the burden of proof on him for “making unfounded accusations.” The use of the word “seemingly” by the committee shows that the charges were vague, and Mr. Wong believed it was unconstitutional too. In addition, he believed that, as he was unable to cross-examine the original key witness, he did not receive a fair trial. He believed that the CSB’s decision to impose dismissal and to strip him of his pension entitlement was one of the most serious disciplinary actions, which was harsh.

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