Hong Kong’s Top Court Narrows Scope for Charging Protesters

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HONG KONG—The highest court in Hong Kong ruled against the government Thursday in a landmark rioting case, a decision likely to draw greater scrutiny from Beijing of the Chinese territory’s British-style justice system amid a national-security clampdown.

A panel of five judges on the Court of Final Appeal rejected arguments from prosecutors that people can be convicted of unlawful assembly or rioting even if there is no evidence they were participating at the scene. The case was brought by the Department of Justice after three people arrested in a cul-de-sac near the scene of a violent protest in July 2019 were acquitted of rioting by a lower-court judge last year.