The District Court in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island. Photo: Google Maps
The District Court in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island. Photo: Google Maps

A Hong Kong magistrate is being sued for HK$1.7 million (US$ 216,750) in compensation by a former defendant in the Magistrate’s Court for allegedly criticizing her attitude and inappropriately handling her jaywalking case.

The plaintiff, a 34-year-old Nepalese woman named Thapa Kamala submitted a writ to the District Court last week alleging that Ho Lai-ming, deputy special magistrate at the Eastern Magistrates’ Court, maliciously and wrongfully fined her HK$100 (US$12.50) for arriving late in court and ordered her to attend court punctually for future proceedings relating to her jaywalking case, Oriental Daily reported.

The plaintiff was involved in a jaywalking case after she was hit by a taxi when she crossed a road at Tai Tam on Hong Kong Island in April 2016. She sustained serious injuries and was hospitalized for two months.

In January this year, the plaintiff pleaded not guilty to a charge of jaywalking at the time of the accident. On the second day of her trial, she arrived in court one minute, allegedly because she had needed to visit the washroom.

The plaintiff said Ho did not listen to her reason for being late, and fined her HK$100 for violating the conditions of her bail, even though she was not on bail. The magistrate also compelled her to attend court punctually in future.

In the writ, the plaintiff said defendants for traffic summonses are not required to attend court personally if represented by counsel.

In January, Kamala filed a judicial review against the HK$100 fine, and the cash was returned to her last week by a High Court judge.

The woman now seeks HK$1.7 million compensation from Ho, including HK$300,000 for loss of freedom as she was forced to attend court for every proceeding, HK$200,000 for injured feelings, HK$200,000 for pain and discomfort for being forced to stay in the cold courtroom and HK$1 million for Ho’s maliciously and wrongfully judgement.

Her jaywalking charge has not been resolved.

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