'No jury' at first HK national security trial

In a landmark decision in Hong Kong the court of appeal has upheld a ruling to deny a trial by jury to the first person charged under a new national security law.

The ruling marks a departure from the global financial hub's common law practice.

The lawyer for Tong Ying-kit appealed after a ruling last month said he would face a trial without jury, citing "a perceived risk of the personal safety of jurors and their family members."

Police say Tong carried a sign reading "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times" and drove his motorbike into officers during a protest on July 1.

They allege he knocked several officers down on a narrow street before falling over and being arrested.

It was the first day the security law that Beijing imposed on the city was in force -

Targeting what China deems as secession, separatism, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

The 24-year-old was charged with inciting separatism and terrorism.

Hong Kong's Judiciary describes trial by jury as one of the most important features of the city's legal system -

a common law tradition designed to offer defendants additional protection against the possibility of authorities overreaching their power.

Article 46 of the new law - drafted by Beijing - states three instances in which juries can be scrapped: protecting state secrets, cases involving foreign forces and protecting jurors' safety.

Tong has also been denied bail. Under the new law, the burden is now placed on the defendant to prove they will not break the law if released on bail.

The trial is due to start on Wednesday (June 23).

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