HK criminal lawyer on trial for drafting false affidavit

A LEADING Hong Kong criminal lawyer has been sent to trial accused of drawing up a false affidavit in a corrupt deal with a former Hong Kong government prosecutor.

Geoffrey Booth, a UK-qualified partner at leading Hong Kong criminal firm Haldane Midgley & Booth, was charged with intending to pervert the course of public justice between July 1994 and January 1996.

Booth allegedly drafted the false affidavit for former government prosecutor Warwick Reid to help convicted Malaysian businessman Ch'ng Poh in an appeal. Reid served 10 months of a two-and-a-half-year jail sentence imposed by the Rotorua High Court in New Zealand last year after admitting he accepted a bribe of around £400,000 to sign a false affidavit on behalf of Ch'ng. Ch'ng is serving a four-year term for releasing false company results.

Booth represented himself at Hong Kong's Eastern Court last week. His case was committed to the Court of the First Instance after he decided not to have a preliminary hearing.

A spokeswoman at Haldane Midgley & Booth said Booth would continue working for the firm until the court case was heard. Booth is currently on HK$1m bail. No date has yet been set for the trial.