Staff at primary school lied at inquest into pupil's death, Hong Kong coroner says

Staff at primary school lied at inquest into pupil's death, Hong Kong coroner says

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Law Cheuk-ki's father Law Tak-fai (left) and mother Lam Wai-kin, outside Eastern Court for the coroner's inquest.
Law Cheuk-ki's father Law Tak-fai (left) and mother Lam Wai-kin, outside Eastern Court for the coroner's inquest.
Photo: Dickson Lee/SCMP

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Principal Wong Ching-man said the school would talk to lawyers.
Principal Wong Ching-man said the school would talk to lawyers.
Photo: Dickson Lee/SCMP

A coroner yesterday lambasted staff members at a Kwai Chung primary school where a girl fell to her death in 2013, saying they had lied at his inquest and indicating that he would pass his findings to the authorities for possible criminal prosecution.

As he delivered an open verdict in the death of 10-year-old Law Cheuk-ki, Coroner Ko Wai-hung said Shek Ling, a vice-principal of CCCKeiChunPrimary School, had been "full of nonsense and lies" when testifying at the Eastern Court inquest into the girl’s death. He said another vice-principal, Ko Yuen-wah, was "not trustworthy".

Ko ruled yesterday that Law, 10, fell to her death from a stairwell linking the fifth and sixth floors at about 7.35 to 7.40am on December 9, 2013.

But due to a lack of evidence he was unable to determine whether she had committed suicide or fallen by accident.

Ko said after his verdict that the inquest testimony "will be passed to the police force and Department of Justice to see if anyone has been in breach of serious offences".

The coroner found that Shek, who insisted she was not aware of what happened to Law at the time, was the person who informed a paramedic that the girl had fallen.

He refused to accept Shek’s testimony that after her fall, Law was lying calmly "as if she was asleep", with no apparent injuries. That contrasted with an account from paramedic Elvis Tsang Kwong-choi, who told the court that Law had sustained an obvious broken leg and a fractured skull. Other medical responders backed up Tsang’s testimony, the coroner said.

Without naming her, Ko criticised Shek for earlier doing an impression of the girl’s grandmother in court and saying the parents would learn a lesson from the incident. He said her behaviour was "like rubbing salt on the family members’ wounds".

The coroner also refused to accept the evidence of the other vice-principal, Ko Yuen-wah, who claimed she had told Tsang by phone that Law had fallen from a height. Tsang said Ko had not fully informed him of what happened, and hung up on him when he pressed her for details.

When Tsang arrived, Ko told him the patient could walk, the court heard earlier.

Outside court, principal Wong Ching-man said the school would study the verdict with its legal team.

A director of the school’s organising body, Yu Huen, said the administration would meet to discuss whether to dismiss any staff members.

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