On 10th November 2014 the Court of Final Appeal unanimously allowed the appeal of Pang Hung Fai against his earlier conviction for money laundering in the District Court. In an important judgment delivered by Mr. Justice Spigelman NPJ, the Court of Final Appeal examined the interpretation of the words “having reasonable grounds to believe” where it appears in section 25(1) of the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance, Cap 455. Mr. Justice Spigelman stressed the importance of maintaining the focus of inquiry on the defendant, and not on what have become to be known as the “objective” and “subjective” elements of the offence. It must now be shown that the defendant had reasonable grounds to believe that the property with which he dealt represented the proceeds of crime. The personal beliefs, perceptions and prejudices of a defendant are relevant and can be given weight by a judge or jury when assessing whether a particular defendant had reasonable grounds to believe that property represents the proceeds of crime.
The questions answered by the Court of Final Appeal were as follows:
The full judgment of the Court of Final Appeal can be found here: PANG HUNG FAI （彭洪輝）-v- HKSAR (FACC No. 8 of 2013)