Hong Kong court postpones national security trial of media mogul Jimmy Lai

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Hong Kong court postpones national security trial of media mogul Jimmy Lai

In this file photo taken on August 10, 2020, police led Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai Chee-ying center away from his home after he was arrested in Hong Kong. VERNON YUEN AFP Hong Kong s High Court has postponed the trial of Jimmy Lai Chee-ying's national security case until December 13th.

Lai, the founder of the now-defunct Apple Daily newspaper, is charged with collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security and three other offenses. His trial was scheduled to begin on December 1.

The Court of Final Appeal ruled earlier in favor of Lai allowing him to hire British King's counsel Timothy Owen to defend him in the trial. The Department of Justice later applied to adjourn the case for seven days to wait for the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress NPCSC to make an interpretation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong, clarifying whether overseas lawyers who are not qualified to practice generally in Hong Kong should be allowed to engage in national security cases in the city.

A panel of three judges of the High Court said on Thursday that the court agreed to postpone the case and hope to spare enough time to wait for the NPCSC interpretation. The court asked the Department of Justice to submit an estimated timetable of interpretation by noon on December 12.

The government's request for a legal interpretation received support from various central government departments overseeing Hong Kong affairs, according to a Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Chau Tin-hang, who represents the prosecution of the case. He believes that the proposal will be accepted by the NPCSC.

READ MORE: CE to request NPCSC to interpret National Security Law.

Owen didn't appear at Thursday's hearing. Local Senior Counsel Robert Pang Yiu-hung represented him to hear the case.