15 October 2021
Corporate manslaughter is rarely prosecuted in Hong Kong following deaths of individuals arising out of the acts and knowledge of a corporation. Following the medical negligence claims against a group of private limited companies (the DR Group) operating beauty clinics and a laboratory and death of a “customer” (Deceased) in October 2012 after receiving an experimental form of cancer treatment (cytokine-induced killer (CIK) treatment), the prosecution laid charges of gross negligence manslaughter (GNM) against the DR Group owner (Chow Heung Wing, Stephen) and two employees (laboratory manager and medical doctor, Dr. Mak).
Following lengthy police investigations after the death, a trial lasting 100 days, appeal to the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal and retrial of Dr. Mak, all 3 Defendants were convicted by the jury and sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment.
In this seminar, we look at the background of this tragic unprecedented case, principles of GNM and discuss the lessons that can be learnt from the Court’s directions and approach to sentencing. We will also touch on the impact of these cases on private corporate healthcare providers and regulatory landscape.