今天全球觸目的新聞之一是樞機主教George Pell的判刑, 很罕有地電視直播, 77歲的他被判監6年, 至少要坐3年8個月才准假釋。他的定罪上訴排了在6月聽審, 相當快捷。我不去談定罪是否穩妥, 因為只憑傳媒報導, 加上我根本不懂, 所以我不評論。Pell的支持者對於可以成功上訴推翻控罪充滿信心, 也製造了不少輿論, 但奇怪的是樞機主教並無申請保釋等候上訴, 而直接入冊。論刑罰, 6年監也不算重手, 我在之前相關的博文估計是不少於5年, 畢竟他這把年紀可謂closer to hell than heaven, 他能否熬過這3個月等候上訴期也成疑。我不是教徒, 這heaven and hell的問題我可少擔心, 也沒有天主教徒面對的掙扎和迷惘。
在香港, 曾健成為律政司不檢控梁振英申請司法覆核, 誓要入刀山, 天下圍攻梁振英, 覆核理由包括針對檢控政策(不尋求外判獨立法律意見), 這一點我覺得站不住腳, 律政司不尋求獨立意見是走了蠢的一步, 但我不覺得可以覆核。陳文敏教授被明報問及這覆核案, 據明報的報導, 有此講法:
陳教授這講法未必正確, 近年的上訴案例不是這樣講的, 最近期的案件是2015年的 D and Director of Public Prosecutions HCAL 88/2015。D這件案是由高院法官(當時官階)前刑事檢控專員薛偉成(Zervos J)聽審的。D是在香港打工的家庭傭工, 她的僱主石國藝在她背後取出自己陽具自瀆, 當初律政司認為不構成非禮而拒絕檢控, D申請司法覆核, 薛官討論了法庭究竟有沒有權干預律政司不作刑事檢控決定的權力, 最終認為司法覆核具可爭辯性的論據, 薛官引用了另一法官夏正民(Hartmann J)在RV v Director of Immigration  一案的判詞:
66. But it seems to me that the judgment of the Court of Appeal recognises that today the power of the Secretary for Justice to control criminal prosecutions is a constitutional power. It is a power bestowed by the Basic Law and defined by that Law. As such, it must be exercised within constitutional limits. In that fundamental respect, the source and nature of the power must be different from the source and nature of the power as it was exercised when the Court of Appeal gave its judgment in Keung Siu Wah v A-G.
67. If the power must be exercised within constitutional limits, it seems to me that it must be for the courts, in any given case, to determine whether the exercise of that power has exceeded the constitutional limits or remained within them. Put another way, the limits of the constitutional power are defined by the constitution itself. Any definition of those limits must therefore require an interpretation of the Basic Law and that is a function of the courts. In this regard, see Ng Ka Ling & Others v Director of Immigration (1999) 2 HKCFAR 4 (at p.25):
‘In exercising their judicial power conferred by the Basic Law, the courts of the Region have a duty to enforce and interpret that Law. ... In exercising this jurisdiction, the courts perform their constitutional role under the Basic Law of acting as a constitutional check on the executive and legislative branches of government to ensure that they act in accordance with the Basic Law.’
68. In my judgment, it must therefore be the case that, since the Basic Law came into effect, this Court has the power to determine whether the Secretary for Justice, in his control of criminal prosecutions, has, or has not, acted within the limits of his constitutional power. The means for that determination is judicial review. To come to this conclusion is not a defiance of binding precedent, it is recognition of a new constitutional order and the duties of our courts in respect of that new order.
69. The more difficult question, in my view, is the determination of what are the constitutional limits, remembering that the Secretary for Justice must be able to control criminal prosecutions free of judicial encroachment.
70. In addition, any interpretation of the Basic Law, which requires a purposive approach, must recognise that continuity is integral to an understanding of its structure. By way of illustration, art.8 provides that:
‘The laws previously in force in Hong Kong, that is, the common law, rules of equity, ordinances, subordinate legislation and customary law shall be maintained, except for any that contravene this Law, and subject to any amendment by the legislature of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.’
71. Clearly, the Secretary would act outside of his powers if it could be demonstrated that he has done so not on an independent assessment of the merits but in obedience to a political instruction. Article 63 specifically forbids such interference with the exercise of his powers.
72. Equally plain, in my view, is the conclusion that the Secretary would act outside of his powers if he acted in bad faith, for example, if one of his offices instituted a prosecution in return for payment of a bribe.
這些案例, 可謂訂立了司法干預律政司檢控權的新框架, 並非陳教授所講法庭無權過問律政司不檢控的決定。我相信曾健成的司法覆核許可是會批出的, 因為是reasonably arguable, 但最後司法覆核會被駁回, 因為在法律觀點方面證據不足以把梁振英定罪, 也難有證據顯示不檢控梁振英律政司是基於政治決定或acted in bad faith。
上面所講D案, 最後律政司改變初衷, 檢控石國藝4項非禮及1項襲擊罪, 最後定了一項企圖非禮罪名成立, 之後上訴也駁回: HKSAR and SHEK KWOK NGAI HCMA 261/2016。