Editorial | A ruling against Vong resolution

Paulo Coutinho

judge at the Court of First Instance (TJB) decided to adjourn the trial of Sulu Sou (and Scott Chiang) sine die pending a decision by the Court of Second Instance (TSI) over a request filed by the defendant with the TSI to suspend a deliberation made by the Legislative Assembly last month – namely, the plenary vote for the suspension of the lawmaker’s mandate.

Interestingly enough, Judge Cheong Weng Tong of TJB rejected the opinion of Sou’s lawyer by stating loud and clear that the two cases are related and therefore her court cannot go ahead with the proceedings while an appeal stands at a higher instance court (see report on these pages).

On the one hand, as Jorge Menezes argued, the cases are of a totally different matter and it would not be uncommon if all the actions run concurrently.

On the other hand, the cases are related and therefore, as lawyer Pedro Leal put it, it would be “a waste of time” if they continue with the proceedings “and even conclude the trial” of the criminal offense at the first instance if the second instance rules in favor of the appeal.

It is a conundrum, that the public prosecutor recognized at the trial, “We are at a crossroads here. We don’t know what the decision of the TSI will be.”

Yes we are and no we don’t.

What came out of this first hearing over an alleged offense of civil disobedience by the two New Macau activists has far larger political implications that reaches Sou’s suspension and reverberates to Vong’s controversial draft resolution on parliamentary immunity. The debate and vote concerning these topics was postponed for today by the AL.

The decision to adjourn by Judge Cheong implicitly says that the courts have the authority to scrutinize the legislative branch actions and their compliance with the law.

Judge Cheong just ruled out the Vong bill – in a first reading.

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