|SECTION III - THE SUBMISSIONS OF COUNSEL AND THE UNREPRESENTED WITNESSES|
We were first addressed by Dr. Chung who asked us to accept that financial pressures, pressure of work when he was studying for his thesis and the disagreements he had with Dr. Bacon-Shone had no real bearing on this matter.
He said that he withdrew none of his evidence as he had told the Panel the whole truth.
He stressed the fact that Mr. Lo on his own admission had made reference to him by suggesting a conflict of roles.
He submitted that the actions of the Vice-Chancellor were dictated by a wish to distance the University from politically sensitive issues and that this was borne out by his remarks to Professors K.M. Cheng and Lieh-Mak.
He suggested that the supposed conflict of roles was not supported by anything placed before this Panel and he pointed out that the contents of his letter to the Chief Executive elect of June, 1997 which Mr. Lo said was one of the matters giving rise to his concern was never referred to in any detail by Mr. Lo himself.
He said that the message transmitted to him was mixed up with all sorts of other matters but its real thrust was that the Chief Executive was not happy with polls on his popularity.
He said that no one had ever really questioned his methodology and asked the Panel to accept that the real message was much stronger than it appeared on its face.
He said that although he had felt that he was under political pressure, he had resisted that pressure by continuing his tracking polls and that even if polls were at the lower end of academic endeavour they should not be subjected to political pressure.
We do not need to canvass the submissions of Dr. Ng and Professor Y.Y.Chan suffice to say that we do not consider that any suggestion that they were in some way involved in any attempt to silence Dr. Chung can be levelled at them.
On the contrary, we are satisfied that both of them had been supportive of the work of Dr. Chung.
Professor S.L. Wong submitted that he had always dealt with Dr. Chung as a concerned supervisor and friend, that he had never acted as an errand boy and henchman of the Vice-Chancellor and that he had never dressed up political pressure in the guise of academic advice.
He said that his two conversations were never followed by any action and that the submission of Dr. Chung on 11th November, 1999 was done on his own initiative.
He again denied any threat to dry up the POP activities.
His explanation of the allegations of Dr. Chung is that he became preoccupied with a specific message and lost sight of the issues.
He repeated all the reasons why POP polls were of little academic value.
He concluded by suggesting that Dr. Chung's allegations are made in an obsessional quest for recognition of the value and importance of his work, particularly by the Chief Executive.
Mr. Alan Hoo S.C., for Mr. Lo, submitted that the evidence of the meeting with the Vice-Chancellor was entirely consistent with the formal and polite meeting which Mr. Lo said occurred and that in such a meeting there was no likelihood that contentious matters could have been raised.
He submitted further that this Panel should accept that Professor S.L. Wong was doing no more than voicing legitimate academic concerns in the conversations of 29th January and 1st November 1999.
Mr. Warren Chan S.C., for the Vice-Chancellor, submitted that there was simply no evidence against him to establish that he had brought or tried to bring pressure to bear on Dr. Chung.
He pointed to a number of matters which he said supported his argument and submitted that the plain fact of the matter was that there was no evidence from either Professor S.L. Wong or the Vice-Chancellor that he had ever made a request to him to carry a message to Dr. Chung.
He suggested, echoing to some extent what Professor S.L. Wong had said, that Dr. Chung was over-sensitive and asked the Panel to bear in mind that this whole matter was a misunderstanding arising out of memories blurred by the passing of time and unaided by the assistance of contemporary notes.
We have not dealt exhaustively with all of the matters raised in the addresses we heard but all have been considered when coming to our conclusion.