政經

襲警法例漏洞成警察濫權溫床──為何要廢除《侵害人身條例》36B﹝訂正中﹞

柏齊事件最聳人聽聞之處,自然是警察涉嫌打人後反指市民襲警,然而,其被指控的罪名本身,卻更能說明目前的制度確實容許警察可以按﹝政治﹞指示,有系統地利用法例打擊異議者。

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在不到兩年的時間,包括柏齊在內,筆者身邊已有七人因為「襲警」被帶上法庭,頻密程度為回歸後未見。香港法例中起碼有兩條提到「襲擊警察」:《警隊條例》63條《侵害人身條例》36條B。經警方的選擇,七人全部被控《侵害人身條例》36條B──此例的最高刑罰較重,依案例幾乎必須判監,而且不准緩刑﹝屬於《刑事訴訟程序條例》附表三的「例外罪行」﹞。柏齊之外的六人,都是在行使《基本法》賦與的示威權利時被捕。

按照《裁判官條例》,選擇用《警隊條例》63條或《侵害人身條例》36條B提出起訴,屬於警察的權力範圍﹝有時會因應案情徵詢律政司意見﹞。問題出於,這兩條條例對罪行的描述,幾乎一模一樣:
《侵害人身條例》36條B:「襲擊、抗拒或故意阻撓在正當執行職務的任何警務人員或在協助該警務人員的人......即屬犯可循簡易或公訴程序審訊的罪行,可處監禁2年。」
《警隊條例》63條:「任何人襲擊或抗拒執行職責的警務人員,或協助或煽惑任何人如此襲擊或抗拒......循簡易程序定罪後,可處罰款$5000及監禁6個月。」

對罪行的描述相若,刑罰卻相差甚遠。結果是,當警察決定用哪條條例起訴,已變相代法官設定了量刑的界線。有不欲透露姓名的本地大律師表示,法官對着這兩條襲警控罪,基本上只能按案情判有罪或無罪,但在其他案件,法官有可能根據案情要求主控官修改控罪,以「更適合」的法例檢控。因此,主動權全在警方手上,辣與不辣,任其選擇。

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讓我們拉闊一點來看,先看整條《侵害人身條例》36條。36條的標題是〈意圖犯罪而襲擊或襲警等〉﹝Assault with intent to commit offence, or on police officer, etc.﹞,這是一條很老的法例,於一八六五年訂立,條例基本上是照抄殖民主英國本地的Offences Against the Person Act 1861 (c.100) section 38。《侵害人身條例》36條﹝之前的編號不同,見附件﹞訂立百多年來,變動極少,仍然是將罪行分為三類:

36 (a) 意圖犯可逮捕的罪行而襲擊他人;或
36 (b) 襲擊、抗拒或故意阻撓在正當執行職務的任何警務人員或在協助該警務人員的人;或
36 (c) 意圖抗拒或防止自已或其他人由於任何罪行受到合法拘捕或扣留而襲擊他人

另一邊廂,香港《警隊條例》也是一條老法例,在港大圖書館找到最老的版本是一八九零年,但比《侵害人身條例》新。這條法例在英國的對照是Police Act 1996 section 89(1),港英兩邊的條例在內容細節上有點分別,但原則是訂立一條刑罰較輕的襲擊警察罪。從一八九零到今天,《警隊條例》的襲警罪都是「襲擊或抗拒」﹝assaults or resists﹞連用。

大家會發現,如果拿比較早訂立的《侵害人身條例》和較遲訂立的《警隊條例》作比較,很明顯,當《警隊條例》那條判刑較輕的襲警罪出現後,《侵害人身條例》36 (b)便顯得重複,剩下令《侵害人身條例》36條能夠繼續與《警隊條例》襲警罪分別開來,並且能合理化前者較重的刑罰的,應是36條C,「意圖抗拒或防止自已或其他人由於任何罪行受到合法拘捕或扣留而襲擊他人」,這罪行明顯比「襲擊或抗拒」嚴重,因為同時是意圖抗拒合法的拘捕,即是「為了拒捕而襲擊」。

遇上這種重複立法情況,合理的做法是二擇其一,要維持一項較輕微的襲警罪,就不能同時保留一條內容一樣,但刑罰卻重得多的襲警罪。英國政府就是看到這個情況,先後在一九六四﹝Police Act 1964 (c. 48), Sch. 10 Pt. I﹞年和一九六七﹝Criminal Law Act 1967 (c. 58), Sch. 3 Pt. III﹞年,刪除了相當於36條B和36條A兩項罪行,剩下相當於36條C的罪行:
Assault with intent to commit felony, or on peace officers, &c

Whosoever shall assault any person with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detainer of himself or of any other person for any offence, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and being convicted thereof shall be liable, at the discretion of the court, to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding two years.

筆者沒有時間翻查當年刪除條文的會議紀錄,不知道防止檢控單位濫權是否修訂條例的理由之一。但英國政府四十年前的做法,明顯的效果正是減少了可遭濫用的灰色地帶。香港的法律學者並非不意覺到問題,港大法律學院院長陳文敏在二十年前一個法律講座中也提到,《侵害人身條例》、《警隊條例》和《簡易程序治罪條例》的罪行內容重複而刑罰不同,情況古怪,"it is difficult to see why it is necessary to have three different ordinances to cover essentially the same offence. The maximum sentences are different in each statute. The maximum sentences under the Police Force Ordinance, Summary Offences Ordinance and the Offences Against the Person Ordinance respectively are $5,000 fine and six months' imprisonment; $1,000 fine and six months' imprisonment; and two years' imprisonment. Besides, a charge under section 36 of the Offences Against the Person Ordinance is an excepted offence to which a magistrate has no power to impose a suspended sentence (Criminal Procedure Ordinance s 109B and Second Schedule). All these distinctions do not seem to have a rational basis. "﹝頁八十六至八十七﹞不過又過了二十年,兩條法例依家原封不動,檢控部門便有了可乘之機。

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早前我們說,兩條罰則不同的襲警條例有着相若的罪行描述,製造了濫用的可能。有濫用的漏洞,但濫用有沒有真的發生呢?兩條法例被引用來檢控香港示威者的情況如何?

過去十年,本地示威者被控襲警的次數不多﹝五宗以下﹞,筆者還未做詳細的統計,這裏先舉一例。一九九七年香港舉行世界銀行年會期間,有五名本地示威者被捕,三人被指襲擊警察。當時警方選擇以《警隊條例》作檢控,最終三人各被罰一千元,刑事紀錄三年後便取消﹝編號HCMA548/1998﹞。讀者如有時間了解案情,會發現那次示威者與警察的「衝突」,程度跟最近那六宗襲警案相若,「被襲的」警察亦沒有嚴重受傷。但這個年頭的示威者卻面對嚴峻得多的處境:一來警方已把每次示威假定為犯罪現場,派出大量警察跟蹤拍攝點相﹝甚至有鎖定目標﹞,一有什麼風吹草動便拘捕;二來被捕示威者幾乎都被控以最嚴重的罪名,一入罪便要坐牢及終身留案底。七名社會運動參與者,無一例外地被控以《侵害人身條例》的襲警罪,有正在監獄服刑的朋友,臨出獄前又收到通知,要為另一項《侵害人身條例》襲警指控上庭,極有可能要繼續被拘留。同樣的行為,十年後的今日要面對嚴厲得多的控罪,如何解釋這個差別?法官判案要根據案例,如果法律訂得清楚的話,不可能有太大的偏離,問題很大可能出在檢控的環節。

「襲警」這個詞語很嚇人,先入為主地給人極負面的形象,卻其實,幾乎任何與警察的身體接觸,都有可能被演繹為「襲警」。筆者絕非鼓吹打警察﹝香港的民間團體在本地近幾十年反激烈行動的氣氛下,與很多地區比起來,表現極之斯文﹞,只是希望說明,目前的制度有明顯的漏洞,亦相當明顯地正被警察/政府利用來壓制示威者。這趨勢對香港公民社會的滅聲效果,不應忽視。刪除《侵害人身條例》36條B,將之與《警隊條例》63條分別開來,是必要的第一步。一直守在立法會保安事務委員會的民主黨涂謹申沒理由不跟進。

附錄:《侵害人身條例》和《警隊條例》中有關襲警的條文的歷年修訂

《侵害人身條例》流變
Edition: 1901 Cap / Ordinance No.: No. 2 of 1865 Subsequent Cap No.: 212
Cap / Ordinance Title: OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON ORDINANCE, 1865
34. any person who--
every person who--
(1) assaults any person with intent to commit felony; or
(2)assaults, resists, or wilfully obstructs any police officer in the due execution of his duty or any person acting in aid of such officer, or
(3) assaults any person with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detainer of himself or of any other person for any offence,
shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, being convicted thereof, shall be liable, at the discretion of the Court, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding two years, with or without hard labour.

Edition: 1912 Cap / Ordinance No.: No. 2 of 1865 Subsequent Cap No.: 212
Cap / Ordinance Title: OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON ORDINANCE, 1865
34. any person who--
(1) assaults any person with intent to commit felony; or
(2)assaults, resists, or wilfully obstructs any police officer in the due execution of his duty or any person acting in aid of such officer, or
(3) assaults any person with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detainer of himself or of any other person for any offence,
shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be liable to imprisonment for any term not exceeding two years.

Edition: 1923 Cap / Ordinance No.: No. 2 of 1865 Subsequent Cap No.: 212
Cap / Ordinance Title: OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON ORDINANCE, 1865
34. any person who--
(1) assaults any person with intent to commit felony; or
(2)assaults, resists, or wilfully obstructs any police officer in the due execution of his duty or any person acting in aid of such officer,
(3) assaults any person with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detainer of himself or of any other person for any offence,
shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be liable to imprisonment for any term not exceeding two years.
[ss. 35 and 36, rep. law revision ordinance, 1923]

Edition: 1937 Cap / Ordinance No.: No. 2 of 1865 Subsequent Cap No.: 212
Cap / Ordinance Title: OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON ORDINANCE, 1865
no. 2 of 1865 offences against the person
34. ever person who--
(1) assaults any person with intent to commit felony; or
(2)assaults, resists, or wilfully obstructs any police officer in the due execution of his duty or any person acting in aid of such officer, or
(3) assaults any person with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detainer of himself or of any other person for any offence,
shall by guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be liable to imprisonment for any term not exceeding two years.
[ss. 35 and 36, rep. no. 5 of 1924]

Edition: 1950 Cap / Ordinance No.: 212 Subsequent Cap No.:
Cap / Ordinance Title: OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON ORDINANCE
36. any person who--
(a) assaults any person with intent to commit felony; or
(b)assaults, resists, or wilfully obstructs any police officer in the due execution of his duty or any person acting in aid of such officer; or
(c) assaults any person with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detainer of himself or of any other person for any offence,
shall be guilty of a misdemeanor triable summarily, and shall be liable to imprisonment for two years.

Edition: 1964 Cap / Ordinance No.: 212 Subsequent Cap No.:
Cap / Ordinance Title: OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON ORDINANCE
36. any person who--
(a) assaults any person with intent to commit felony; or
(b)assaults, resists, or wilfully obstructs any police officer in the due execution of his duty or any person acting in aid of such officer; or
(c) assaults any person with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detainer of himself or of any other person for any offence,
shall be guilty of a misdemeanor triable summarily, and shall be liable to imprisonment for 2 years.
(amended, 30 of 1911, ss. 2 and 5; 51 of 1911, s. 2, and 22 of 1950, s. 3)

Chapter: 212 Title: OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON ORDINANCE Gazette Number:
Section: 36 Heading: Assault with intent to commit offence, or on police officer, etc. Version Date: 30/06/1997
Any person who-
(a) assaults any person with intent to commit an arrestable offence; or
(b) assaults, resists, or wilfully obstructs any police officer in the due execution of his duty or any person acting in aid of such officer; or
(c) assaults any person with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detainer of himself or of any other person for any offence,
shall be guilty of an offence triable either summarily or upon indictment, and shall be liable to imprisonment for 2 years.
(Amended 30 of 1911 ss. 2 & 5; 51 of 1911 s. 2; 22 of 1950 s. 3; 50 of 1991 s. 4)
[cf. 1861 c.100 s.38 U.K.]

《警隊條例》流變
Edition: 1890 Cap / Ordinance No.: No. 9 of 1862 Subsequent Cap No.:
Cap / Ordinance Title: POLICE FORCE ORDINANCE
21. if any person shall assault or resist any member of the Police Force, acting in the execution of his duty, or shall aid or incite any person so to assault or resist, or refuse to assist any officer or constable in the execution of his duty when called upon to do so, every such offender being thereof convicted before any Magistrate, shall for every such offence forfeit and pay such sum, not exceeding two hundred dollars, together with costs, to be recovered in a summary manner, as the said Magistrate in his discretion may order, and in default of payment shall be liable, if no sufficient distress can be found, to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding three months. ["Six months with or without hard labour" as amended by Ordinance No. 9 of 1867.]

Edition: 1901 Cap / Ordinance No.: No. 11 of 1900 Subsequent Cap No.: 232
Cap / Ordinance Title: POLICE FORCE ORDINANCE, 1900
31. if any person assaults or resists any member of the Force acting in the execution of his duty, or aids or incites any person so to assault or resist, or refuses to assist any member in the execution of his duty when called upon to do so, every such offender shall, on summary conviction before a Magistrate, be liable to a penalty not exceeding two hundred dollars, together with costs, to be recovered in a summary manner as the Magistrate, in his discretion, may order, and, in default of payment, shall be liable, if no sufficient distress can be found, to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for any term not exceeding six months.

Edition: 1912 Cap / Ordinance No.: No. 11 of 1900 Subsequent Cap No.: 232
Cap / Ordinance Title: POLICE FORCE ORDINANCE, 1900
31. if any person assaults or resists any member of the force acting in the execution of his duty, or aids or incites any person so to assault or resist, or refuses to assist any such member in the execution of his duty when called upon to do so, he shall, on summary conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding 200 dollars, together with costs, to be recovered in a summary manner as the Magistrate may direct.

Edition: 1923 Cap / Ordinance No.: No. 11 of 1900 Subsequent Cap No.: 232
Cap / Ordinance Title: POLICE FORCE ORDINANCE, 1901
31. every any person assaults or resists any member of the force or any member of a crew acting in the execution of his duty, or aids or incites any person so to assault or resist, or refuses to assist any such member in the execution of his duty when called upon to do so, shall upon summary conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding two-hundred and fifty dollars, and to imprisonment for any term not exceeding six months.

Edition: 1950 Cap / Ordinance No.: 232 Subsequent Cap No.:
Cap / Ordinance Title: POLICE FORCE ORDINANCE
58. any person assaults or resists any police officer acting in the execution of his duty, or aids or incites any person so to assault or resists, or refuses to assist any such officer in the execution of his duty when called upon to do so, or who, by the giving of false information with intent to defeat or delay the ends of justice, willfully misleads or attempts to mislead any such officer, shall upon summary conviction be liable to a fine of two hundred and fifty dollars and to imprisonment for six months.

Chapter: 232 Title: POLICE FORCE ORDINANCE Gazette Number:
Section: 63 Heading: Penalty on person assaulting, etc. police officer in execution of duty, or misleading officer by false information Version Date: 30/06/1997
Any person who assaults or resists any police officer acting in the execution of his duty, or aids or incites any person so to assault or resists, or refuses to assist any such officer in the execution of his duty when called upon to do so, or who, by the giving of false information with intent to defeat or delay the ends of justice, wilfully misleads or attempts to mislead any such officer, shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of $5000 and to imprisonment for 6 months.
(Amended 42 of 1977 s. 16)