Often Partisan

The Carson Trial: Carson To Take The Stand?

Yesterday the Birmingham Mail carried this piece confirming that Carson Yeung has applied to the courts to reopen his defence case to allow him to take the stand and give evidence in his trial on money laundering.

This is an important development for the trial, and as such I wanted to explore a bit more fully what was happening and to try to give an idea of what it means in the grand scheme of things. Please take into account that I have no legal training; however I have been taking advice from a solicitor in Hong Kong who has done his best to explain what is happening.

The State of Play

Carson appeared at the District Court this morning HK time to formally apply to have his defence case reopened in order that he can take the stand. He presented the judge with a legal opinion stating that he had made an eror and in order for the BIH supremo to receive a fair trial he needed to take the stand to explain where the money in his accounts had come from.

To recap, Carson has been charged with knowing or having reason to believe that he has received money that is the proceeds of an indictable offence. The prosecution is working on the second limb of that charge, trying to prove that a reasonable man acting in a reasonable manner would have had reasonable doubts on the where the money had come from and that Carson hadn’t acted in the required manner. Carson needs to show that he did everything he could to ensure that he was satisfied that the money was clean and that he acted as a reasonable man should – the onus is very much on him to prove his innocence rather than the prosecution to prove his guilt.

Thus it’s easy to see why Carson should really take the stand; and whilst one can understand that the prosecution objected as they saw it as another time-wasting tactic there was only ever going to be one outcome – that the judge would allow it. However, clearly Judge Douglas Yau Tak-hong is clearly as unhappy with the time taken as the prosecution so in what is good news Carson should take the stand as of October 16 – much sooner than I (or it has to be said the defence team from what I understand) anticipated.

What Does This Mean For Blues?

The news that Carson will take the stand sooner than expected has to be good news for Blues; especially if you are in the section of fans who believe nothing will be sorted ref takeovers etc until Carson’s verdict is in. Furthermore, the less time Carson is in court and the less work that the defence team have to do means less money paid out by Carson … which reduces his need for money – which could be seen as a good thing or a bad thing depending on whether you think Carson will sell the club to raise cash or keep hold of it to milk further. Carson has already had to pay out a million plus in legal fees for this case alone – lawyers don’t come cheap.

My one concern is how much will come out when Carson takes the stand – Blues do not need to be implicated in this trial any further than they already have been. My hope is that Carson will concentrate on how he made his money in the early years and the later ones which involve him investing in Blues will be left alone somewhat.

Does This Affect Any Potential Takeover?

I’m conflicted on this. On the one hand I don’t think it has any bearing realistically as I think BIH need to sell regardless of what happens in the trial; on the other hand I cannot help but have that nagging feeling that it’s in Carson’s best interests to have the one thing left that has any money for as long as possible.

What I do know is it doesn’t affect Peter Pannu’s role at BCFC. Pannu has had nothing to do with the criminal trial; he doesn’t have much experience as a barrister in criminal trials and as such he wouldn’t be of much use. However, contrary to reports that he is flying back to the UK to finalise a deal he is very much still in HK – as evidenced by his signature on the latest BIH announcement made today to the stock exchange.

There is undoubtedly some twists and turns left in this case and I think we’re heading for the most interesting part of the trial itself; no one has heard what Carson has had to say for himself about his arrest and I’m intrigued as to what evidence he will give – and if he will give it through an interpreter as he has used all the way through the trial so far.

There are some initial reports on the day in court today here in Oriental Daily and here in the Hong Kong Economic Times.

Due to the nature of this piece, I have turned comments off.

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