Apex court's nod sought on Alex Au

Apex court's nod sought on Alex Au

The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) has applied to the Court of Appeal for permission to take contempt action against blogger Alex Au Wai Pang for a second article he wrote. The court will hear the application in the week of Feb 24.

Last month, the High Court permitted the AGC to proceed against Mr Au for an Oct 5 article on his blog Yawning Bread. But it rejected the AGC's contempt of court application for a second post on Oct12.

In this second article, entitled "Church sacks employee and sues government - on one ground right, on another ground wrong", Mr Au expressed doubt that the judiciary was capable of making independent judgments on two cases filed by Mr Wee Kim San Lawrence Bernard, a 40-year-old homosexual man.

Mr Wee had lost the first case in which he sued his former employer Robinsons for discrimination, after the High Court "erroneously decided" it, claimed Mr Au.

He suggested that this would lead to the High Court also ruling against Mr Wee in his subsequent application for a declaration that bias against homosexuals is unconstitutional.

In a statement on Tuesday about its application to the Court of Appeal, the AGC said "it is in the public interest that the law in this area is clear, so that there is clarity on what material is, and what material is not, in contempt of court".

It noted that the rules of court expressly permit it to apply to the Court of Appeal if permission is refused by the High Court.

It said the Court of Appeal will hear the application without Mr Au's presence. But if the court gives permission for contempt action on the second article, the 61-year-old will have "every opportunity to respond to the case against him".

Mr Au's lawyers said they wrote to the AGC on Tuesday to ask for papers related to the new application and to clarify various matters. They also requested to be present at the Court of Appeal hearing since the application "is a matter of public interest and implicates (Mr Au's) liberty".

There is a pre-trial conference today regarding the Oct 5 article.

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