Judge acquits Pinay accused of stealing sweater and HKID photocopies

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Shatin Magistracy

A judge in Shatin dismissed the theft case against a Filipino domestic helper who was accused of stealing a sweater and the photocopies of her employer’s Hong Kong ID.

Shatin Deputy Magistrate Kay Chan Kwok-wai on April 9 acquitted the defendant, with initials C.P., after her employer and two other prosecution witnesses gave hearsay and conflicting testimonies in court.

He also junked the admission of guilt that the Filipina allegedly made to the police because she “was not informed of her right to remain silent,” she was not told of the specific accusations against her, and there was no written record of how she made the alleged admission.

“Even when (the Filipina’s male employer) appeared to give clear evidence as to what happened, his evidence was unreliable because it contradicted (the testimonies of his wife and the police investigator),” Judge Chan said in his ruling.

He said the employer made inconsistent statements about the sequence of events that led to the domestic worker’s arrest and what happened when the defendant’s belongings were searched.

“Even if he is an honest witness, I cannot say that he is reliable at all. Accordingly, I find that there is reasonable doubt and the defendant is acquitted,” the magistrate said.

He noted that the Filipina’s employer, his wife, and the police investigator also gave conflicting evidence as to how the sweater was found.

“There were three different versions given by the three different witnesses. The prosecution evidence did not provide a concrete foundation of guilt for the defendant,” Judge Chan said.

The Filipina was arrested after two photocopies of her employer’s HKID and the sweater of her employer’s wife were allegedly found among her belongings.

She said the photocopies of her employer’s HKID were given to her when she was applying for her visa while the sweater was given to her by her employer’s wife.

Her employer said his wife gave the domestic worker some clothing but insisted that these were “summer clothes.”

“(The employer’s) evidence as to the ownership (of the sweater) is hearsay…I also acquit the defendant on the second charge,” the judge said.

However, he clarified that he was not saying that the Filipina’s employer was lying. Judge Chan said his finding was that the prosecution evidence was “not strong enough” to convict the domestic worker.

“I do not know what actually happened. Only you know,” the judge told the Filipina.  Â

The domestic worker thanked her lawyer, barrister Philip Ross, for her acquittal. Her two children were scheduled to graduate in the Philippines on April 10, or a day after her acquittal, but she said she did not have a plane ticket to fly home.

“I have to talk to my lawyer first because my visa expires today (April 9),” she said.

Mr. Ross later gave her a document which she brought to the Immigration Department to have her visa extended.

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