In a high-profile case that has so far seen two trials, two appeals and numerous interlocutory applications, Stephen Chan and his assistant have today been convicted of conspiracy to accept an advantage and fined HKD 84,000 and HKD 28,000 respectively.
The bribery convictions concern a payment of HKD 112,000 Chan received without informing his then employer, TVB, while hosting his talk show Be My Guest at Olympian City on New Year’s Eve 2009. The payment was alleged to have been made through a third party company run by Chan's assistant.
The case turned on whether Chan had permission from TVB to receive the payment. Chan was tried and acquitted twice by the same judge in the District Court on the basis that he had a "reasonable excuse", namely that TVB had "silently agreed".
After the second trial, the prosecution applied to reopen the case again. They argued that the trial judge had erred in finding a "reasonable excuse" without objective evidence.
In late October 2015, the Court of Appeal unanimously found Chan and his assistant guilty on a joint charge of conspiracy of an agent to accept an advantage, contrary to section 9 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance. The court's judgment highlights the narrow application of the "reasonable excuse" defence under Hong Kong law.
Today, after twice acquitting the men, judge Poon formally convicted and fined them.