Despite the complexity and difficulty of the case against former Prosecutor-general Ho Chio Meng, its newly-appointed defence lawyer, Oriana Inácio Pun, told Business Daily that she is confident the case will reach an ending by August, when the former top official’s maximum allowed preventive prison period expires.
“I believe this the most complex case I’ve had so far, although I’ve taken part in other complicated cases in the past. It’s hard to say if the outcome will be positive or if there will be a good or bad result, since Mr. Ho is not accused of just one crime,” Ms. Pun told Business Daily.
Last week the former Prosecutor-general’s main defence lawyer, Leong Weng Pun, presented the Court of Final Appeal with documents abandoning his position, claiming the court’s judges had treated the defence and prosecution differently.
With the court having provided only five days for the former Prosecutor-general to present a replacement or be appointed a lawyer, Ms. Pun – a lawyer since 2005 and current member of the Macau Lawyers Association Board of Directors – was presented as Ho’s new main defence lawyer.
Burning the midnight oil
Having requested the Court of Final Appeals to allow over 30 days to consult and prepare for the case, Ms. Pun was granted 14 days to consult all the case documents and the recordings of court sessions, starting from the beginning of the case, December 9 of last year.
The former prosecutor is being accused of more than 1,500 crimes, with case documents comprising 36 volumes and 81 appendices with more than 30,000 pages.
“It’s a lot of paperwork and I would also like to hear all the completed court trial sessions recordings […] My office has three lawyers and three interns and we’re all currently dedicated to this case […] We’ll have to be organised and prepare the best possible defence,” Ms. Pun told Business Daily.
With the defence only granted a “short period,” Ms. Pun says they will have to consult the case documents on weekends and “if there’s time” consult them during the Court of Final Appeal court sessions.
Giving it her best
Mr. Ho’s former defence lawyer cited differences in treatment by presiding judges to the prosecution as one of the reasons for excusing himself from the case, claiming instances in which the defence was not allowed to present documents not included in the accusations, contrary to what was allowed the prosecution.
The new defence lawyer told Business Daily that she had not had any contact with Mr. Ho before the case but that she has since conferred with the former Prosecutor-general and his former defence lawyer in order to have access to documents not included in the accusation.
“I can’t predict if similar cases to what happened with the previous defence will happen with us, but anything can happen. The only thing we can do is give it our best,” she stated.
No date for the resumption of the trial has yet been provided by the Court of Final Appeal.