IN THE SUPREME COURT OF HONG KONG
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 401 OF 1973
Coram: Full Court (Pickering & Cons, JJ.)
Date of Judgment: 16th August, 1973.
1. The appellant was convicted of robbery and sentenced to 3 ½ years’ imprisonment. This appeal is against that sentence.
2. On the 27th of February 1973, the appellant, together with another youth, went to a flat in Granville Circuit in Kowloon where, bymeans of threatening a young girl with a knife, they gained entrance to the flat. In that flat there lived the girl in question,her elder sister and a married couple. The two youths robbed the original girl of a wrist-watch, the elder girl of $500, the manof $770, a wrist-watch, a camera and a cigarette lighter, and his wife of $180. The appellant played a leading part in the robbery.
3. He had one previous conviction of a totally different character, namely indecent assault.
4. The learned magistrate considered that because of the current widespread incidence of robberies of this nature, together with thefact that this was a well calculated and planned robbery in which the appellant had used a younger boy as his accomplice, a deterrentsentence was needed; the learned magistrate was moreover well aware of the disparity of the sentences which he imposed, the appellantbeing sentenced to 3 ½ years’ imprisonment and his companion to detention in a Detention Centre. We say at once that we have nocriticism of the sentence imposed on the appellant upon any ground of disparity.
5. We agree that a deterrent sentence was needed. A sentence of 3 years’ imprisonment for robbery of this type is not uncommon or unmeritedeven upon a first conviction and 3 ½ years may equally be merited in the case of a cowardly robbery such as this: but one factorwhich disposes us to interfere with the sentence in this case is the youth of the appellant, who is only 17 years old. The sentenceof 3 ½ years’ imprisonment upon a youth of that age is not only heavy, but in our view greater than is necessary for the purposeof deterrence. Had the appellant, as we told him in court, been 22 or 23 years old we would not interfere with the sentence but,having regard to his age, the appeal against sentence succeeds and the sentence of 3 ½ years’ imprisonment is set aside and substitutedby one of 2 ½ years.
Appellant in person.
Sharwood, C.C. for respondent.