Judge Yuen stuck to his earlier sentence over the Bokhary case. He has every right to do so. However, on announcing his decision, he added: If the case had not involved Amina Bokhary, would it have attracted so much public attention? He was implying that the public over-reacted to the sentence.
I can’t go along with his logic. First, around the whole world, any scandal involving someone with a special status is bound to attract a lot of public attention. Second, Amina Bokhary is the niece of a top judge of the Court of Final Appeal. In other words, Amina’s uncle is not only Yuen’s professional peer, he is indirectly Yuen’s professional big brother. The public needs to see that the sentence involves no favouritism. They pay extra attention to the case exactly because they care about the impartiality of the judicial system of Hong Kong.
If something similar happened in the Mainland, would Hong Kong people give a damn? Of course not, because we don’t trust their judiciary.
And finally, it was the exceptional leniency of the sentence, at least on the surface, that caused the public outcry.
Understandably, Judge Yuen will not be overjoyed with the massive criticisms of his earlier sentence. From a legal point of view, he has the right to uphold his earlier decision. After all it is HIS professional judgment. But if he thinks the public is making a fuss, he still hasn’t got the point