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Leighton hires top Hong Kong lawyer Mr Paul Shieh for commission of MTR inquiry

Infra News - Published on Wed, 26 Sep 2018

Image Source: South China Morning Post
South China Morning Post reported that the main contractor at the centre of a construction scandal plaguing Hong Kong’s most expensive rail link has appointed a top barrister to represent it at a high-level inquiry into shoddy work starting next month. During a preliminary session to lay the ground rules for the independent commission of inquiry starting on October 22, it was revealed that Leighton Contractors (Asia) had hired Paul Shieh Wing-tai, a senior counsel and former Bar Association chairman. Leighton, which has remained silent on the controversy, was the main contractor in charge of building the Hung Hom station platforms for the HKD 97.1 billion Sha Tin-Central rail link, where the shoddy work was found. Two overseas engineering experts were also brought into the investigation, which was expected to last eight weeks and end after Christmas.

Rail giant the MTR Corporation, which is overseeing construction of the project, hired British barrister Philip Boulding, who specialises in cases related to engineering. The government and two subcontractors also appointed legal representatives. The commission has the right to summon witnesses and request documents as necessary.

Shieh has had a number of high-profile appointments. He was one of three lawyers representing a commission of inquiry into the Lamma ferry crash, in which 39 people died in 2012. He also represented two disqualified lawmakers, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Edward Yiu Chung-yim, when the pair appealed to the Legislative Council to drop a claim for them to repay their salaries and expenses last year.

During Monday’s session, the commission’s legal representative, Ian Pennicott, outlined the possible outcome of the inquiry.

Pennicott said that “The final report could subject individuals, companies, institutions or departments to criticisms, and make recommendations which may have a long-term impact on the future conduct of such entities.”

Commission chairman Mr Michael Hartmann, a former non-permanent Court of Final Appeal judge, also noted procedures had started “somewhat later than what would be ideal”.

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Posted By : Nanda Koijam on Wed, 26 Sep 2018
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