Court says Jimmy Lai cannot challenge search warrant legality in Apple Daily raid

Apple Daily's founder Jimmy Lai and his companies have been barred from challenging the legality of the search warrants executed in the raids at his offices last year, and has been refused their applications for an injunction against the police chief, according to several media reports.

The plaintiffs of the case filed private legal actions against the commissioner of police last year to recover some materials seized by officers during investigations into allegations of fraud and national security law violations, said the article. They also sought to amend the scope of their case last month, looking to include a challenge to the lawfulness of the warrant and stop the  police from accessing, reviewing or using certain seized materials.

The SCMP article elaborated that Justice Wilson Chan found that he had no jurisdiction to entertain the proposed amendment as he deemed an abuse of process and "clearly devoid of merits". Chan said the issuance of warrant was a public law act and it was well-established that any challenge against the lawfulness of a warrant was within the exclusive purview of judicial review. 

Meanwhile, the judge also said that it was not right to think that the national security law only conferred powers on officers posted in the unit, as there was a complaint that the warrant applied by an officer with the commercial crime bureau and not the national security unit.  

Currently, Lai is waiting for a trial on allegations of fraud, foreign collusion and perverting the course of justice. The other plaintiffs include his two sons, Timothy Lai, Ian Liu, as well as Next Digital and Apple Daily


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