A man who attacked Transit Jam founder and editor James Ockenden has been convicted of assault and fined $1000.
The violent incident happened in September 2020, after Ockenden, who was walking with his two small children, took a photo of a car blocking a Bonham Road bus stop.
The prosecution told Eastern Magistrates Court that a woman then rushed up behind Ockenden and demanded to know why he was photographing the car.
After Ockenden explained that the car was illegally parked in the bus stop, the woman became enraged, claiming she was pregnant and that the car needed to park in the bus stop. According to video shown to the court two men, including Cheung Kam-chuen (張金泉) then alighted from the car, a white Audi, with Cheung then rushing at Ockenden, stamping on his foot, kicking him twice in the shins and swinging at his head.
Ockenden was holding his two-year-old daughter on his shoulders and holding the hand of his four-year-old daughter at the time.
The two men and the woman then departed in the car at speed, the driver narrowly missing a Food Panda rider who was passing on a motorcycle as they pulled out.
Defence painted Ockenden as a vigilante with a grudge against motorists, citing an interview Ockenden had given with Sassy Mama in which the journalist and transport campaigner said he often “got angry at drivers who park on the pavement”.
But while accepting this evidence, the magistrate, Edward Wong Ching-yu, criticised the defence for trying to pass the Sassy Mama story off as a Transit Jam news story written by Ockenden, including a fake cover page from the Transit Jam website on top of the printed stack of Sassy Mama pages. The prosecution did not comment on the subterfuge but defence apologised to the magistrate.
Ockenden denied the “vigilante” accusation, telling the court he often took photographic or video evidence for the police to handle according to the justice system. He told the court his wife was also pregnant at the time, and that drivers blocking bus stops made boarding and alighting from the bus more dangerous for passengers.
The case came to court in November, 14 months after the assault, with conviction and sentencing on 21 December 2021.
Police had taken over six months to catch up with Cheung Kam-chuen, with Ockenden then identifying the man at an ID parade in July 2021.
The arresting officer said he could not comment on the sentence.
“Sorry, I can’t make any opinions of the fine as I need to uphold the neutrality of the police side,” they said.
Meanwhile traffic police said there was insufficient evidence to ticket the Audi driver for illegally parking in a bus stop. That offence carries a $400 fine.