Rape case lawyers over­step the mark

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION -

Stand­ing out­side the court gate on Wed­nes­day morn­ing among hun­dreds of re­porters on the scene to re­port the high-pro­file rape case, I kept ask­ing my­self what the role of lawyers should be be­fore or dur­ing such a trial.

In­stead of a nor­mal court hear­ing, the trial on Wed­nes­day ap­peared more like a scripted drama. Hun­dreds of re­porters waited out­side the court de­spite the rain, in the hope of learn­ing “shock­ing” in­for­ma­tion about the case, which in­volves well-known mil­i­tary singer Li Shuangjiang’s son, who al­legedly gan­graped a woman with an­other four men in Fe­bru­ary.

The case was not a pub­lic hear­ing due to it in­volv­ing mi­nors, whose pri­vacy must be pro­tected un­der law, but many de­tails had been ex­posed by the lawyers be­fore the trial.

Lawyers of all five sus­pects and the woman’s at­tor­ney sparked mas­sive de­bate on the In­ter­net be­fore the trial, mak­ing the case con­fused and arous­ing doubts in on­look­ers and even ju­di­cial ex­perts.

Wu Ming’an, a law pro­fes­sor with the China Univer­sity of Po­lit­i­cal Sciences and Law, said it was a pity to see such a “per­for­mance” by the at­tor­neys.

“It can be un­der­stood that the in­volved par­ties freely spoke their opin­ions, but it’s not pro­fes­sional or sen­si­ble to see lawyers do the same,” Wu said. “In­stead, the at­tor­neys should guide and per­suade their clients to calm down, es­pe­cially for such a non­pub­lic and sen­si­tive case.”

China has no clear rule to reg­u­late lawyers’ be­hav­ior be­fore tri­als, “but it should be gen­eral knowl­edge that the at­tor­neys in­volved can­not leak

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