Criminal process bill to be gazetted

May 23, 2023

The Government will introduce the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill 2023 into the Legislative Council on May 31.


The bill seeks to provide for statutory appeal procedures for the prosecution to appeal against rulings of no case to answer (no-case rulings) made by the Court of First Instance (CFI) in criminal trials with a jury.


It also seeks to appeal by way of case stated against a verdict or order of acquittal given by the CFI constituted by a panel of three judges to try a case concerning offences endangering national security without a jury under Article 46 of the National Security Law.


The Department of Justice noted that the proposed new statutory appeal mechanisms are necessary, legitimate and timely responses to address lacunae in the criminal appeal system due to the prosecution's inability to appeal against any no-case rulings and acquittals by professional CFI judges that are erroneous, so as to prevent possible miscarriage of justice.


The legislative amendments, being procedural in nature, will apply to rulings, verdicts or orders given after the legislative amendments come into operation, the department said, adding that the bill will neither undermine a defendant's right to a fair trial nor contravene the principle against double jeopardy.


The bill will be gazetted on May 25.

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