Often Partisan

The Carson Trial – What a Permanent Stay Could Mean For BCFC

On Friday November 8, the trial of Carson Yeung on five counts of money laundering was adjourned once more as the judge considered a second application from the defence team for a permanent stay in proceedings.

Judge Douglas Yau Tak-hong has adjourned the trial until Tuesday 12 November to make a ruling on the application. Having now obtained both the skeleton argument from the defence in application for a permanent stay and the prosecution’s response and having spoken spoken to legal experts in Hong Kong I have put together this article to try to explain what has happened and what it could mean for the club.

What does the application for a permanent stay mean?

The defence have applied for the trial to be stopped, stating that it is impossible for Carson Yeung to have a fair trial. They have done this after evidence was introduced by the prosecution obtained from the unused evidence provided to the court by Abba Chan Tat-chee in the case HKSAR v Hon Ming Kong (DCCC661/2006). The evidence, which consists of Abba Chan’s written notes, transaction documents and records conclusively proves that Carson’s defence that he had loaned money to Abba Chan to finance a film was truthful.

The submission goes on to state that the onus is on the prosecution is to negate the defendant’s defence beyond reasonable doubt – ie to prove that the money put into Carson’s account by Abba Chan was not the repayment of investment and loans as Carson claimed. It goes on to state that these documents were in the prosecution’s possession, control or power to obtain and the fact that they have not is abuse of process.

The prosecution have responded by observing that the second application for a stay is based on two limbs; the first being the late disclosure of the Abba Chan material and the second being the apparent failure of the prosecution to investigate the links between Carson and Lin Cheung Fung (sic) and Cheung Chi Tai.  The prosecution observe that the defence have been aware since the very beginning of the trial (November 29 2012) of the nature of evidence that the prosecution were to call and have waited until now to raise the issue.

The prosecution state that they had no knowledge or control of the Abba Chan notes as they were under control of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and it wasn’t until the leading counsel for the defence made the prosecution aware of the file that the police made the request to the ICAC for it. The prosecution go on to state that in fairness to Carson, they then produced the file of the ledger page (which strictly speaking is a hearsay document) and a cheque drawn on one of the accounts the trial is concerned with made payable to Abba Chan for HK$1.5million.

The prosecution state that any prejudice caused by the late disclosure of the material was minimal and that they believe that there is no onus on the prosecution to investigate the relationship between Carson Yeung and the people who deposited the money in his accounts.

In essence – the defence are saying that Carson cannot have a fair trial and the prosecution are denying this. It’s down to the judge decide.

What happens if a stay is granted?

If a permanent stay is granted the trial will stop immediately. However, there is absolutely no doubt that the prosecution would appeal a decision to grant a permanent stay.

The big issue is how long this would potentially take. Based on previous case history it is thought a prosecution appeal against a permanent stay would take 8-12 months or so and if they were successful it would be another 6-12 months for a second trial to take place – meaning potentially a judgement in the middle of 2015.

This would leave the club in limbo for a lot longer, as the restraint order against Carson’s assets would remain in place until either the prosecution appeal was thrown out, or if that didn’t happen until he was acquitted – so it would not mean a rapid return to St Andrews for Carson or a quick solution to the money worries the club faces. If anything, a permanent stay would introduce a much longer delay until we know where the club stands with regards to Carson.

If a stay isn’t granted it would mean Carson would have much stronger grounds for appeal in the event he is convicted. However, under Football League rules Carson would have to step down from being a director of the football club on conviction – there is  no delay to see the outcome of appeals – and if the league could prove that Carson exerts control over the club as if he was owner of 30% or more of the club – ie a “shadow owner” – then steps could be taken to force him to sell the club; namely by threatening to withhold the so-called “golden share” that allows the club to take part in league competition. Whether the league would do that however is up for debate.

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59 Responses to “The Carson Trial – What a Permanent Stay Could Mean For BCFC”

  • Onlyme says:

    So For our sake, and the club,
    We can only hope, that the STAY is denied, the trial continues with new evidence, and Carson is Found Innocent.

  • Blue Steve says:

    Lets keep fingers crossed that the judge denies the application!

  • Paul white says:

    Surely the league has looked into this now, so would want to try and do something!? If not let’s make that take notice and do do something about it! Hopefully will be declined so we can get this sorted!

  • Alan Harris says:

    So reading that I think what we need is the judge to reject a Permanent Stay and let the trial run its course if CY is found guilty then the FA could step in and force the sale of the club or if CY is found not guilty and is acquitted and his assets would be unfrozen then Cy has the option to sell or remain in charge of BCFC.
    So if this is the case lets hope the judge rejects a Permanent Stay

  • Peter bates says:

    Dan can the case be thrown out and no appeal be granted to the prosecution or will a new trial take place

  • rugbybluenose says:

    if carson is found guilty and appeals does he go down straight away or after his appeal

    • Steve-0 says:

      I would hazard a guess that I’d Carson is found guilty and sentenced he will serve time immediately and conduct his appeal and preparation of that appeal as a prisoner.

      • almajir says:

        Depends. He could remain on bail whilst on appeal – not unknown for that to happen in HK.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        If he does appeal, that would mean that he’s been found guilty. Surely, that means that he will remain guilty until an appeal court declares otherwise (or not.) So if guilty, surely his appeal time would be spend in jail?

        Then again, this is Hong Kong, a parallel universe.

        • In many countries you are deemed to be not guilty until all your appeals have been exhausted and only then are you put in prison. This means that people with lots of money and access to good lawyers can play the system and appeal again and again and again and, in so doing, effectively escape justice. Not that I am saying this is the case with CY.

  • DoctorD says:

    I’m no expert but it seems a bit harsh on the prosecution if the trial is stopped — after all, the new evidence has only just come to light. My money is on a) the trial going on, b) Carson being convicted and c) him then appealing. If that happens, then Carson will be forced down from the BIHL top job, but his relative will step in.

  • Martin Grainger says:

    “The prosecution go on to state that in fairness to Carson, they then produced the file of the ledger page (which strictly speaking is a hearsay document) and a cheque drawn on one of the accounts the trial is concerned with made payable to Abba Chan for HK$1.5million.”

    By “produced”, do you mean they gave these items to the defence, as a begrudging minimum they felt they had to do? If they did, and coupled with the ICAC aspect, i can see the judge saying its not withholding evidence.

    It could go either way, and their judge will probably do what’s right based on their laws. People can complain about the ownership process, but they all love the corporatisation of football when we’re in the premier league. There should be two sports: one called Football for people who like team spirit and caring about their club, and one called Penalty Winning for the newspapers and the stock market and the get-rich-quick players who couldn’t give a toss.

    • Poppa999 says:

      Don’t both sides have an absolute right to see all the evidence in the case? Would withholding important information prejudice the case once it was known in the court?

      All those years of watching Law & Order paid off after all.

  • Peter bates says:

    Does anyone know if the case can be thrown out completely due to this evidence proving carson was telling the truth or will the trial continue whatever the judge decides on tuesday

    • Kaje says:

      His defence counsel could apply for a ruling of ‘no case to answer’, this would essentially ask the judge to throw the case out of court due to lack of evidence against the accused.

      However, it’s rather rare and I would have expected it to have been applied for before now – thus I would suggest it is highly unlikely to the point of being extremely improbable.

  • zxcv says:

    The main point for me is which ever decision the judge makes, which one will hamper BIH the most in getting relisted as the relisting of its shares is the biggest factor in BCFC getting sold, I think we all agree he wont sell until that happens.

  • Kaje says:

    Speaking as a law student, I have to praise you on your ability to explain such a move in laymans terms! Superb stuff as always!

    Whilst it may not be the best thing for justice, the absolute best thing for Blues would be for the stay to be denied. This would ensure that we get a decision, one way or the other, which would either mean – as you rightly say above – that Carson returns to his position as a free man (and can either invest or sell) or he’s found guilty and has to step down regardless of appeal.

    My concern with thd latter, however, is that he will have a close ally buy his shares and await his appeal.

    • almajir says:

      Thanks Kaje

      I’m lucky in that I have some good people helping me out in the background and I had full access to the documentation with respect to the application for the stay.

      • KeepRightcroydOn says:

        Just want to ask if there’s other outcome on Tuesday; that the judge decides that this particular piece of evidence is inadmissible, has no bearing on the trial and is discarded. Therefore trial proceeds with consideration given to all other evidence. Afterall this relates to just HK$1.5m (don’t know how much that is in £s), and the trail is about laundering of £60m, or lack of accounting of it. Surely the judge won’t disregard previous submissions because of one tiny bit of contentious evidence.

  • RVH1T says:

    I think that (yet another) financial crisis will overwhelm the club sooner rather than later, whatever the outcome of the trial/appeal/etc. If not this season, then in the close season. For a start, as a long standing season ticket holder, can anyone seriously think that people like me are going to invest in yet another season ticket with the situation as it is? there must be a limit to how many rabbits CY/PP can pull out the hat to keep the club solvent.

  • Peter bates says:

    It seems to me that whatever happens the club remains in limbo and we need someone to do a carson yeung and pay well over the odds for the club and I cant see that happening

  • Poppa999 says:

    Is the imminent re-listing of shares likely to change the dynamic of the holding?
    http://202.66.146.82/listco/hk/birminghamint/announcement/a131105.pdf
    What does Carson Yeung mean by “will voluntarily suspend his management duties within the Group”?

  • Steve-0 says:

    Dan you mentioned that there would be big mid November investment news. With Paladini claiming in the press that he agreed (and signed) with PP to purchase Blues, do you know / believe these two incidents are linked? I know he’s frustrated at Carson’s non-interaction on this but maybe he’s waiting to see what realistic path his case takes.

    I would guess at Carson selling if this stay isn’t granted and returning back to Blues as a free man if it is. This stay is a big factor in Carson’s decision to sell and I see that no response to Paladini will be forthcoming until Tuesdays decision is upon us.

    If the judge refuses the stay Paladini will have control of Blues by Christmas.

    • almajir says:

      Nope.

    • Graham says:

      I reckon Paladini did have an agreement to buy the club (or a stake), then Yeung heard about this evidence and told Paladini the deal is off, assuming this evidence will be enough to get the trial thrown out

      • Steve-0 says:

        He never told Paladini anything. He’s kept quiet until the result of this stay. He’s done for, he knows it, now he’s activated a plan to convert debt into equity to make the club sellable. He may kick off a sale with Paladini or he may see who else has interest, but he will do it quickly.

  • TonyE says:

    If he’s found guilty will he be able to raise sufficient funds to mount an appeal, after all his defence costs to date must be massive.

  • romanblue says:

    i dont get it?Can someone explain in basic english.thanks.ps hi everyone

  • ITK2 says:

    carson is hanging by a thread…he knows he is pretty much going down and has been doing all he can to delay and unsettle the trial. his golden ticket has arrived.

  • ...sappy sad says:

    ………..Birmingham city will be sold by February,..with the mood the fans are getting in I don’t think carson would risk re=listing unless he was going to sell ,as blues fans could make the share prices plummet with the thought of another one and a half years of the same,……..kro

  • Poppa999 says:

    Aren’t other shareholders wanting the re-listing in order to sell their shares?

  • mark says:

    Imo the judge will throw the case out the window, carson will return to bcfc a free man…and we will make our push towards the promise land…………kro

  • Art Watson says:

    Almagir,

    Here is a question for you.

    You state in your article that” you have spoken to legal experts in HK”.

    Have they indicated which way they feel the judgement will go?

  • mark says:

    with 51 days of trial already passed would the judge wanted sit through another 51 days and more, if the onus is on Carson to prove the flow of money in his accounts, and prosecution to withheld important information demonstrating this surely this is cast iron mistrial… for the prosecution to appeal this would only to save face their incompetent………….imo

  • Blueboy88 says:

    Under Football League rules Carson would have to step down from being a director of the football club on conviction…

    But that changes little because BIHL own BCFC not CY.

    So where does that leave the HKSE on the conviction of a minority shareholder of the unlisted BIHL ?

  • StevieW says:

    So next week is a busy week in the world of Blues and decision taking. Lets just hope the right decisions are made.

  • ...sappy sad says:

    …………..when this is all sorted one way or the other I hope almajir carries on as Birmingham city watchdog ,…as this web has showed just how vunerable fans are in this high roller merry=go=round

  • TheJudge says:

    Surely the club wouldn’t survive that much longer if the prosecution were to appeal?
    Then again if the club releases zigic or any other high earners then theres argument there I guess but no funding for another 12-18 months would surely send blues into admin… or am I missing something? (besides the fact anything could happen in this saga)

    KRO DNM

  • Chris W says:

    As with BCFC and the playing side, nothing is simple or straightforward.
    We lose at home to Charlton, then put in a display and beat Huddersfield away.

    Just when it looks grim for CY and an end to the trial is in sight he throws firecracker into the mix and has everyone jumping up and down, bet the judge loves him.

    The documentation shows monies to the value of $1.2m, the case is about £60m, it does seem farcical to throw it out without considering the other$58.8m.
    However, I may be missing something but the prosecution does not have to prove CY used laundered money and lied about his acquisitions of any monies source.
    CY has to prove beyond any reasonable doubt he had no idea of the origin of any monies he received and this document shows he was telling the truth of the repayment of a loan thus, sowing the seed that he has been truthful throughout the trial.

    This seems to point the finger that the prosecution have been conservative or selective with their evidence and the defence decide to highlight this fact.
    Unlike Dan, who is privileged to have excellent contacts, seen the trial first hand and has access to documentation, we laymen have to try to second-guess the mindset of the judge. Dan is probably smiling as he already knows but cannot say because of sub judice.

    We, as supporters, want the best for BCFC, which is the stay be rejected, and CY then to be found guilty forcing him to relinquish his control. Unfortunately, this is of no concern to the judge, would the same judge have to preside over a retrial, I doubt he would.
    After 51 days of trial, if the judge has already decided in his mind that CY is guilty he will defer the stay and continue the trial.

  • Art Watson says:

    I think the judge will rule in favour of the defence and the procecution will then appeal.

    Bad news I’m afraid.

  • Art Watson says:

    Sorry-prosecution!

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Either way there will be an appeal, so minimum 12 more months of this never ending bs***!

  • StaffsBlue says:

    As I’ve said before and, I’ll repeat, I have nothing against Carson Yeung himself. After all, as much as people dislike/hate him, he isn’t personally responsible (yet) for the sh1t we’re in at the moment. He’s still innocent until the courts decide otherwise.

    It’s the Hong Kong authorities, who have brought this case to court and subsequently frozen all his assets, that have caused us all this heartache.

    But, unless the judge actually throws the case out of court tomorrow… I think Carson should do the honourable thing and sell the club, before he drags us further into the murky waters of the HK legal system… and into trouble we can’t get out of.

  • Gary says:

    Staff how can you say he’s not to blame for the mess we are in well explain who is then.

  • Jon says:

    Thank you for taking the time to keep us up to speed,with the trial,it makes fascinating reading,i just wish it would all be over and Blues can move forward.


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