Lawyer’s conviction quashed
The High Court yesterday quashed the conviction of one of the city’s most high-profile lawyers, who had been jailed for disclosing the identity of a protected witness to a journalist. The Court of Appeal freed Kevin Egan, who was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in 2006 for leaking the identity of Becky Wong to a South China Morning Post reporter. Wong was a witness in a financial criminal case and being held in protective custody of the city’s anti-graft body, the Independent Commission Against Corruption. The lawyer’s conviction was overturned yesterday by Judge Robert Tang, who said the trial judge’s finding that Egan knew Wong was on the witness protection program when he spoke to the journalist could not be supported.
Kiwi arrested in Pakistan
Wellington said yesterday it was making urgent inquiries into the arrest of a 35-year-old New Zealander by Pakistani security forces as he tried to enter an al-Qaeda and Taliban stronghold on the Afghan border. The man, identified on his passport as Mark Taylor, was reportedly detained at a paramilitary checkpoint near the town of Tank, about 280km southwest of Islamabad. Dressed in local clothing and wearing a beard that he did not have when his passport photograph was taken, he was traveling in a bus headed for a tribal region that is off-limits to foreigners, where he said he was going to get married.
Bombing kills three
Three policemen were killed and one was seriously injured in a bomb attack in the latest violence in a five-year separatist rebellion in the south of the country, police said yesterday. The 20kg bomb was buried along a rural road in Nongjik in Pattani, one of three southern provinces where more than 3,000 people have been killed since the violence erupted in 2004.
Diver loses hand to shark
A diver who fought off a shark in a rare attack in Sydney Harbour was in high spirits despite losing a hand and facing the prospect of losing a leg, his family said yesterday. Able Seaman Paul de Gelder, 31, was taking part in a defense exercise near an upmarket residential area of the harbor in Australia’s largest city when he was attacked on Wednesday. “As a result of the attack Paul has lost his right hand above the wrist and may lose his right leg, however he is in high spirits,” de Gelder’s family said in a brief statement issued through the Australian Defense Force. The attack took place near the Garden Island Naval Base in Woolloomooloo Bay, which is lined with seafood restaurants and celebrity apartments. Experts said no one had been bitten by a shark in Sydney Harbour for more than a decade and the last fatal attack was in 1963.
Infection halts transplants
A top hospital yesterday suspended bone marrow transplant operations after a rare infection killed a six-year-old boy and sickened two other patients. Three other patients at the Queen Mary Hospital are also being tested for the infection, which doctors have identified as a rare intestinal disease called gastrointestinal mucormycosis. The boy died 23 days after contracting the infection in November and two other leukemia patients — a boy aged 11 and a man aged 38 — were found to be infected last month and this month. After the third infection was confirmed Wednesday, the hospital decided to suspend bone marrow transplants for a week.