A Marine Environment Resource Related Public Interest Litigation Case Was Heard Remotely and pronouced in court
On the morning of 13 July 2020, a public interest case related to marine environment and resources was initiated by the Admiralty Division of Haikou Maritime Court via a remote video trial that connected with Meilan Prison. The case was heard openly and a judgment was pronounced in court.
In January this year, Haikou Maritime Court accepted the public interest case related to marine environment and resources lodged by the First Branch of People’s Procuratorate of Hainan. Five defendants were involved in the case for illegal mining, four of which were detained at Haikou Xincheng Prison and one was on the run. After accepting the case, the handling judge forwarded pre-trial documents and summons to the defendants promptly and served the same on the escaping one by means of public notice, and also coordinated with the prison for arrangement of a hearing upon expiry of the publication period.
To follow the epidemic containment policies and to fully protect the litigation rights and interests of the parties, the handling judge decided to conduct the trial via internet. Since, given the nature of the case, the Court had not yet launched a remote video handling system that connected to the detention houses across the province, efforts were made to bring the system to work. Before the commencement of the trial, the Court managed to complete a series of work, including procurement of equipment, redesign of circuitry, installation of software and system debugging, which provided solid technical support for the trial of the case and pronouncement of judgment in court. The rollout of the system enabled instant connectivity with the prisons and detention houses across the province and resolved the difficulty of getting detainees to attend hearing held by the Court during the efforts of epidemic containment. The system would also facilitate the Court to handle maritime criminal cases in the future.
In the first half of this year, Haikou Maritime Court had actively taken multiple ways to curb the impact of COVID-19, including sharing the remote interrogation system and internet trial system of other courts. During the period, the Court had closed 11 public interest civil cases related to the protection of marine environment, fully playing the judicial role of maritime judiciary in protecting the marine environment and contributing to the construction of the national environmental conservation pilot zone.